Understanding the laws and taxes that govern your vacation rental on Airbnb is just as important, if not more, as making your vacation rental as attractive as possible to potential guests. Rules governing vacation rentals depend not only on the country but the state it is located in. Sorting through the legalese to ensure you are fully compliant with all laws and taxes at the state level can be both confusing and overwhelming. Here is a quick guide to vacation rental rules for Airbnb in the State of Florida, USA.
All vacation rentals located in the state of Florida are required to be licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). This includes vacation rentals listed on Airbnb.
However Florida law defines a vacation rental as:
“any unit or group of units in a condominium or cooperative or any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment but that is not a timeshare project.”
This definition however exempts vacation rentals where the host remains in the home from being regulated by the DBPR. It also technically exempts the short-term rental of single rooms or multiple rooms that don’t constitute an entire unit. Other city, county and local level laws may however still apply.
Vacation rental licenses are distributed along two categories: Condos and Dwellings. The DBPR defines a condominium as a group of units or singular unit in a condominium complex or in a cooperative while a dwelling includes single-family houses, townhouses, or unit/group of units in a duplex, triplex, quadraplex or other dwelling units that collectively have up to four units.
Vacation rentals are also expected to maintain certain standards, such as of hygiene, to retain their license. For example, the Airbnb must be kept in good condition with clean bedding that is refreshed between uses, covered mattresses, individually wrapped soaps, clean dishes and glassware (if available) and be free of vermin. (Check out our guide to vacation rental cleanliness here.) Vacation rentals must also display their licenses in a visible manner. The DBPR can revoke the licenses of those who fail to comply.
When booking an Airbnb in the state of Florida, guests are charged certain taxes as part of their reservation. Airbnb collects these taxes on behalf of their hosts and remits them to the state. This includes the Florida Transient Rental Tax of 6%, Florida Discretionary Sales Surtax of 0.5-1.5% and the County Tourist Development Tax of 2-5% for 24 counties. All of these taxes are based on the listing price including cleaning fees. Hosts however are responsible for collecting and remitting other taxes as per relevant county and city laws.
When a vacation rental listed on Airbnb is the permanent residence of the host or their dependent, they may be eligible for a tax exemption of up to $50,000. This is known as the Homestead Exemption.
Being aware of the laws and taxes applicable to the vacation rental is ultimately the responsibility of the host. While this list covers the general rules that govern Airbnb vacation rentals in the state of Florida on a state-level, it is up to owners to take into account all the laws and taxes that apply to their property, including on county and city levels. Not paying taxes, even if due to ignorance, can result in fines or removal from Airbnb. If you find it difficult to pass through the regulations on your own, you can contact the DBPR, a local agency, a lawyer or a tax professional.