St Petersburg, FL- Short Term Rental Laws?

17 Replies

I'm hoping someone can help me drill down on understanding the legality of short term vacation rentals in St  Petersburg, FL. I am finding conflicting information online and from people in the area. 

I understand that in Pinellas county at least a few beach cities like Madeira Beach have put a firm ban in place with police and high fines. I have heard that short term rental is illegal in St Petersburg proper but I can't find the actual ordinance, and I see many people renting on AirBnb, VRBO and the like. However, I have also read that the state of Florida made it illegal for cities to ban short term rentals. I have been trying to chase down this information but i'm only coming up with conflicting news articles, can someone point me to where i can find the concrete information?

Thanks in advance!

-Carole

I looked at the City code this morning.   I think they do it by making "transient accommodations" inconsistent with zoning for residential property.   Do a search on the online version of the city codes using "transient" to see this.

This makes it a code violation.   From experience, codes enforcement will only investigate minor issues like this IF someone files a complaint.

No knowledge on the state law, if any.   But this is not exactly a ban, it is a requirement for different zoning.

I've been doing a short-term
I've been doing a short-term rental in St. Pete. You do have to pay state and county sales tax so make sure you get set up for that. Otherwise, I've had no problem.

I've been spending a lot of time researching this for Pinellas County in general.

http://www.stpete.org/Zoning%20Ordinance/Article%2...

A short term rental would not be classified as a "residential use" according to the code. It specifically calls out renting for less than monthly more than 3 times a year.

It would classified as "transient use" which is not allowed in residential

"Residential uses means, for the purpose of these regulations, single-family, child foster home, community residential home, garage apartment, duplex, multifamily, town house, boarding and rooming house, domiciliary and retirement home, and nursing home, which are available for occupancy on no less than a monthly basis, or for less than a monthly basis three or fewer times in any consecutive 365-day period. A use which meets the definition of "transient accommodation use" is not considered a residential use for the purposes of this chapter."


"Transient accommodation uses means a building containing one or more transient accommodation units, one or more of which is occupied by one or more persons, or offered or advertised as being available for such occupancy, when the right of occupancy is for a term less than monthly, such right of occupancy being available more than three (3) times in any consecutive 365-day period. The determination that a property is being used as a transient accommodation use shall be made without regard to the form of ownership of the property or unit, or whether the occupant has a direct or an indirect ownership interest in the property or unit; and without regard to whether the right of occupancy arises from a rental agreement, other agreement, or the payment of consideration. (1) The term includes but is not limited to hotels, motels, recreational vehicle parks, tourist lodging facilities, resort condominiums, resort dwellings, vacation resorts, and dwelling units occupied or available for occupancy on an interval ownership or "time share" basis, when any of the foregoing are made available for occupancy more than three (3) times in any consecutive 365-day period and the right of occupancy is for a term less than monthly."

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You can also call St Pete's Code Enforcement at 727-893-7373 but I imagine they will tell you it is not allowed.

The state law you are referring to is SB 356 http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2014/0356/Bil...

The main point being this:

"(b) A local law, ordinance, or regulation may not prohibit vacation rentals, or regulate the duration or frequency of rental of vacation rentals.

This paragraph does not apply to any local law, ordinance, or  regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011."

The code of ordinances from St Pete is already grandfathered in.

It's true there are tons of vacation rentals all over Pinellas County so it is not strictly enforced but if you get a complaint or you start making your neighbors mad you will likely have some issues. Code enforcement is generally complaint driven.

@ChrisSmith

@NancyBrook

Thank you !

I noticed this post that is over a year old and wondered if any of you had success or problems with the short term rentals since then. My brother and I own a couple long term rentals in Pinellas county and were considering trying to do one short term vacation rental on either St Pete or Clearwater beach. I have talked to a property management company that says they will obtain a license for you and charge a 18% commission on all bookings. Since I don't have the time right now to mange myself, it seems reasonable. 

Thanks

Tom

Hello Folks! Thank you kindly for your questions & answers! I'm about to buy a small house in St Petersburg and would love to do AirBnB .... but I don't want to get in trouble, lose my home, etc. I'm completely NEW at having a property so I don't want to [email protected] it up... LOL!  

Should I take this major risk? I won't be actually living in the house since it's an investment property. How about getting it licensed as a Bed & Breakfast or Hostel? Would that then bypass the law? And finally, can anyone recommend an Attorney or Consultant that can really advise ALL OF US on this thread since we have the same question?

Thanks in advance for your input. Onwards! :)

Originally posted by @Dee Diaz :

Hello Folks! Thank you kindly for your questions & answers! I'm about to buy a small house in St Petersburg and would love to do AirBnB .... but I don't want to get in trouble, lose my home, etc. I'm completely NEW at having a property so I don't want to [email protected] it up... LOL!  

Should I take this major risk? I won't be actually living in the house since it's an investment property. How about getting it licensed as a Bed & Breakfast or Hostel? Would that then bypass the law? And finally, can anyone recommend an Attorney or Consultant that can really advise ALL OF US on this thread since we have the same question?

Thanks in advance for your input. Onwards! :)

 It's become very common for people in the neighborhood to turn these rentals in, especially if you get just one bad renter in there that annoys owners nearby.   Code enforcement in St Pete has a lot of resources and manpower so they do investigate and pursue these cases when reported.  If there is any evidence of your property being advertised online as a short term rental they usually go the municipal ordinance violation route.   You'll get a certain number of days to bring your actions into compliance and then if you don't you will be served with a summons have to appear in court.  You will get a fine and if you continue the penalties will escalate.   In addition they can do a daily fine on the property (generally $100-200/day) which they usually cap out at $10k but lately they've been going the MOV route.   

You can't just license a residential house as a bed and breakfast in St Pete.   There are a handful that are grandfathered in but the residential zoning would not allow that use.

What you want to do isn't allowed by city codes and there isn't a work around other than trying not to get caught.  If you get caught you will get punished.   Find a legal use for the property or do it in a jurisdiction that allows it.

Thanks Patrick for taking the time to respond. Much appreciated!!

You state "Find a legal use for the property or do it in a jurisdiction that allows it."

I'm looking online but have not been successful with "Find a jurisdiction that allows it." Where can I look up the Cities that DO 100% allow short term rentals?

Thanks!

@Patrick L. hit the nail on the head. It is simply not allowed in St Petersburg. 

That being said, there are over 20 other municipalities in Pinellas County besides St Petersburg, and every city has it's own laws, rules, restrictions, and enforcement appetite/resources.

Here is an interesting article that covers many of the issues:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/pinel...

CORRECTION! I spoke to the City of ST. Petersburg. They DO allow short term rentals: minimum 30 days. Meaning, you can absolutely charge for MONTHLY rentals. You just can't charge for daily or weekly rentals. 

Call up the City of St Pete and ask for yourself:

ZONING: 

CODE COMPLIANCE:

I tried to add the numbers but this IDIOT SITE won't let me. Then it deleted my response. That's annoying. This is why we do Facebook people. 

If you're going to edit people -- they will leave in groves. Bye!

@Dee Diaz I think the site won't let you post phone numbers unless you have a certain amount of posts. This is to reduce spamming. I don't think anyone is trying to edit you specifically.

Thanks Chris. 

I heard the laws in Largo & Indian Rocks Beach FL allow short term home/vacation rentals, daily & weekly. I have the confirmation from Indian Rocks Beach but haven't called Largo. Does anyone know if Largo is the same? And if anyone knows of additional Cities that allow short-term rentals then please share. Thanks!!

Originally posted by @Tom Chelman :

I have talked to a property management company that says they will obtain a license for you and charge a 18% commission on all bookings. 

Thanks

Tom

 Hi Tom! Can you kindly share the name of the property management company? Because that seems reasonable and I would like to learn more. Thanks!!

My understanding with st pete is that if you want to do something with short term rentals like air bnb, is to do an actual bed and breakfast in an appropriately zoned area. You have to live in the residence as well, so I view it as more of a house hacking venture. I don't know if there is wiggle room on the owner living there or if the home could be leased to someone and they ran the bed and breakfast while being a long term tenant/resident of the property. I did not look that far into it.

The above are correct, read the code, call the planning or zoning departments if you need clarification, and you can talk with the code enforcement. They all want people to stay in compliance so most are willing to help.

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