You can Rent Your Couch to Visitors Now Thanks to City

Join Daily City's Podcast & E-Newsletter

By Mark Baratelli
City Council voted Monday 6 to 1 to allow short-term rentals on a limited basis within all residential zoning districts so long as (1) the property owner or tenant (if approved by notarized permission of the property owner) is present when hosting guests from only a single party, (2) the entire unit cannot be rented out as a short-term rental which typically happens through on-line platforms, like AirBnB and others, typically in individual residential units, (3) a majority of bedrooms on the site cannot be rented out as a short term rental.

...and they pay all sales and tourist development taxes for the home sharing use.  An annual fee for the registration will be paid by the owner/tenant. Requirements include a registration process for owners/tenants via planning official determination. 

Owners can rent out their "room, sofa or mother-in-law suites" for less than 30 days says Orlando Sentinel. Owners must also there ensure there is just one booking at a time. The renting activity must be an accessory use to the primary residential use. 

Leasing out an entire dwelling unit for short term, transient use or vacation rental is not allowed unless it's a two family dwelling unit. Good news for Wonus Town investors. Owner occupied duplexes may rent the entire second unit if it is equal or lessor in size on the same development site. Those types of uses are also allowed as a Commercial Dwelling Unit under this Code, or within a hotel/motel use. 

The City will prepare the on-line registration platform and application, pro-active enforcement and public education campaigns to ensure compliance with the new regulations. 

The registration will require that the resident provide two forms of proof of residency, and provide details (such as the total number of bedrooms—and how many are devoted to guest stays; or, an accessory cottage) to ensure that the use as a short-term rental remains as an accessory use to the primary use of the property. If the resident of the property is not the property owner, notarized permission from the property owner in a form acceptable to the zoning official will be required, similar to other residential accessory uses. The registration approval from the City will be required to be posted with the on-line listing to provide for easy enforcement, and transparency to neighbors that the use com- plies with City requirements.

How's this topic being dealt with around the country?
  1. Prohibits short-term rentals: Atlanta and Oklahoma City.
  2. Limits short-term rentals to certain zoning districts: Savannah, Austin, New Orleans, New York. Limits to “hosted” units only: Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Portland
  3. Limits frequency and duration: New York, San Francisco, New Orleans. 

How do other jurisdictions regulate short-term rentals in Florida? There are several “legacy” regulations that are some- what similar to Orlando’s that have been in place for some time:
  1. Orange County: Short term rentals are allowed in the R-3 transient rental zoning district, which is approximately 4.1% of the zoned properties within the unincorporated County. Similar to Orlando, Orange County fields com- plaints regarding short term rentals in their typical residential zoning districts where such uses are not allowed. Jacksonville: Jacksonville prohibits short-term rentals in all residential zoning districts. 
  2. Key West: Allows the entire unit to be rented on a short term basis, however, it is limited to certain zoning districts that do not include the typical residential zoning district.
  3. Miami Beach: Has an acute affordable housing shortage; short term rentals place additional pressure on reducing the amount of residential units in the city. Prohibits short term rentals in all single family homes, and limits to cer- tain commercial zoning districts. 
  4. St. Petersburg: Prohibits short-term rentals.

Recent ordinances in Florida:
  1. Ft. Lauderdale: New licensing registration ordinance for short term rentals that targets potential negative impacts. (2015).
  2. Hollywood: Safety and operational requirements, parking standards, inspections and registration (2015).
  3. Flagler County: Occupancy limits, parking, registration requirements, & life, health and safety requirements (2015). Panama City Beach: Set occupancy limits, registration requirements and enforcement rules (2015).