Many local governments have enacted laws which require the owner of a short term rental property to obtain a certificate or other permit in order to utilize the property as a rental. This regulation comes in addition to obtaining a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a local business tax receipt, and the remission of Florida Sales Tax to the Department of Revenue. The issue of regulating short term vacation rentals has also been addressed recently by the Florida legislature.
Certainly, complying with state tax and licensing obligations is important, but a municipality can deem the unauthorized operation of rental property as a code violation. This can result in fines and the potential for denial of a permit or long delays in obtaining authorization to continue. Airbnb, HomeAway, and VBRO are attractive ways to market your rental property. However, some municipalities require a short term rental property owner to list the business tax receipt number on any advertisement or offering concerning the short term rental property. Additionally, the requirement for a tourist development tax receipt can be another step and expense for a rental property owner. With multiple applications to different entities for licensing and tax receipts, a rental property owner must expect to also incur application and processing fees. Generally, the fees are not expensive, and the applications are not complicated. However, knowing what is required can be a frustrating process and being denied a permit or fined as a result can be even more frustrating and expensive.
If you are a short term rental property owner, please consider consulting with a qualified attorney to ensure you are following all state and local regulations.