Florida Short-Term Rental Laws

Get to know Florida's short-term rental laws that could affect how you run your property and your vacation rental business.

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Check out our guide for first-time vacation rental hosts!

If you’re thinking about renting out your property in Florida as a short-term rental, you should first make sure that you understand the laws and regulations that govern this type of accommodation. 

While the Sunshine State offers plenty of opportunities for hosting travelers, there are certain rules you need to follow to avoid legal issues.

Here’s what you can find in this guide:

  • Registration and licensing in Florida
  • Federal and local taxation
  • Zoning regulations in Florida
  • Safety and health standards for short-term rentals
  • Noise and nuisance regulations
  • Occupancy rules for vacation rentals

Now, let’s break it down one by one.

What Qualifies as Short-Term Rentals in Florida?

First, let’s clarify what exactly counts as a short-term rental (STR) in Florida.

According to Chapter 509 of the Florida Statutes, a short-term rental is “a housing accommodation rented to tenants for stays of 30 days or less, more than 3 times per calendar year, “ or “a transient lodging establishment which is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to guests.

This includes accommodations such as vacation homes, condos, apartments, or single-family houses rented out to guests on a short-term basis.

On the other hand, Florida’s Department of Revenue defines it as any rental agreement lasting less than six months. 

Local Variations in Vacation Rental Laws

Before we continue, it’s important to note that short-term rental rules can vary by jurisdiction.

Each county in Florida has its own set of rules for short-term rentals, creating a patchwork of regulations across the state. These rules can cover everything from zoning requirements to how many guests you can have at a time.

This means that you need to inquire about regulations in your county as well.

Registration and Licensing

Registration is mandatory for short-term rentals, and many major cities require that you register your business with the city. 

If you rent out a property more than three times a year for less than 30 days each time or advertise it for short stays, you’ll need a Florida short-term rental license. It’s called the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation License, or DBPR License for short.

To get your Florida DBPR license, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Your home address and the rental property address.
  • Your property type, since there are separate applications for condos and standalone homes, so you need to make sure you use the right one.
  • If you’re renting out units in a big building, you’ll need to choose one of three categories to describe the type of building where your short-term rental will be hosted:
    • Single: Less than 4 units within one building
    • Group: Over 4 units within one building
    • Collective: Less than 75 units in different buildings but in one civic district

Another thing you might need is a Balcony inspection (DBPR HR-7020) certificate. If your short-term rental is in a building that’s three stories or taller, or if it has balconies at least 17 feet high, you’ll need to have a certified inspector check your balcony and fill out the inspection certification.

If you are wondering how much all of this will cost, you can calculate and pay the fees online through the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation website. The fees depend on where your rental property is and how many units you’re renting out. 

Taxation

As you could expect, you’ll need to pay your dues in the form of taxes. Plan to hand over more than 10% of what you make to the county and state.

Different areas in Florida have their own tax rules, so let’s look into the federal and statewide tax implications for vacation rental owners in Florida.

Federal Tax in Florida

The United States government considers your property a short-term rental if you rent it out for at least 14 days each year and personally use it for no more than 14 days or 10% of the time it’s occupied in a year.

Meeting these requirements can help you maximize federal tax benefits and deductions.

Here’s what can be clarified as deductible expenses:

If you want to make the most out of these deductions, you should hire an accountant as they will let you in on all the tricks of the trade.

Transient Rental Tax in Florida

Florida Statute 212.03 states that all rental properties, including short-term rentals, are subject to a transient rental tax of 6%. This means 6% of the rent paid to you as a business owner goes to the state.

In certain rental situations, you can waive this tax, such as renting your property to: 

  • Military veterans or active-duty service members
  • Full-time students who are registered for postsecondary coursework
  • A renter who stays for more than six months

On top of the 6% rental tax, Florida can impose a discretionary sales surtax of 0.5% to 1.5% of the total rental cost. This tax applies to rentals lasting less than 182 days.

Local Transient Rental Tax

Each county in Florida can levy its own tax on STR properties, known as the local option transient rental tax

Rates can vary, with some counties charging no tax and others matching the state tax rate.

You’ll usually pay these taxes directly to the county, but in some cases, you may need to pay them to the state’s Department of Revenue.

Zoning Regulations

By complying with zoning regulations, you can avoid penalties and legal problems, so don’t overlook them. They determine what you can do with your property and how you can use it, and they vary depending on where you are. 

Some areas might have laws that ban or limit short-term rentals. So, before you list your property on Airbnb or Vrbo, make sure it’s allowed by checking with your local zoning authority.

It can be a good idea to talk to local planning departments and get advice from legal experts to make sure you’re following the rules correctly.

Safety and Health Standards

As a short-term rental host in Florida, you are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of your guests; not just for guest satisfaction but also for maintaining your license.

Keeping your properties safe and clean is part of the licensing process with the DBPR. If your property doesn’t meet safety standards, your DBPR license could be revoked.

Here are some ways to ensure your STR meets safety standards:

  • Follow local building codes: Regular maintenance is essential to meet Florida’s safety regulations. This includes balcony inspections and complying with local ordinances. For example, Miami Beach requires fire marshal inspections, while Jacksonville mandates property surveys for STR permits.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Make sure your property has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They’ll alert guests if there’s a fire or gas leak.
  • Give an emergency contact: If you’re not always available, designate someone who can help guests in case of emergency. You can include emergency contact and information in your digital guidebook, so guests can find all the relevant info as soon as they arrive. 
  • Provide emergency information: Inform your guests where fire extinguishers and emergency exits are located. You can also share in the guidebook emergency contact numbers like 911 for international visitors who might not be familiar with American resources.

Noise and Nuisance Regulations

Florida has noise ordinances and nuisance regulations to keep residential areas peaceful. 

Many cities have specific noise rules and requirements for short-term rentals. For example, in Holmes Beach near Tampa, it’s required by city ordinance that you display a statement in your rental that says: “You are vacationing in a residential area. Please be a good neighbor by keeping the noise down during the day and night. Loud noise can disturb neighbors and their peace.”

As a short-term rental host, it’s important to follow these rules and ensure your guests are respectful. You can install noise monitors like NoiseAware so you can keep an eye on your guests and properties. If neighbors complain, address the issue right away to keep good relationships in the neighborhood.

Occupancy Rules

In February 2024, the Florida Senate passed a bill that states that the maximum number of people who can stay overnight in a vacation rental depends on the number of bedrooms. 

According to this law, there should be no more than two people per bedroom, with an additional two people allowed in a common area. But if each person has at least 50 square feet of space, you can have more than two people in the bedroom. 

The rules can vary by city as well, so check the occupancy regulations in your area.

Conclusion

As a host, you’re already paying for booking services, cleaning, and maybe even a vacation rental management platform. The last thing you need is to add legal fees to that list.

To keep your Airbnb legit and above board, make sure you follow all the registration, taxes, zoning, safety, and noise rules. 

Since these rules can vary depending on where you are, be sure to check out the laws in your rental location.

Lastly, don’t forget to stay updated on any changes and your duties as a short-term rental owner to stay compliant and steer clear of legal headaches.

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