Many people are choosing to stay in Airbnb’s when they travel, however many buyers, sellers and investors are unaware of the laws around short-term rentals in Southwest Florida.

Short term rentals, rentals under six months, are not allowed in most of Florida due to HOAs and condo associations which have their own rules and regulations. In these communities, there is a Declaration of Covenants that includes information on minimum leases allowed. Typically, you’ll see a 30 or 90-day minimum rental with restrictions on how many leases you can have within a year. While this is standard in many communities, that’s not to say it’s what all HOAs or condo associations allow.

In addition, there is a bed tax in Florida. This is because Florida doesn’t have any state income tax due to it being a transient state. Between the state and county, the tax is 10% in Lee County and 11% in Collier County. It’s essential that you pay these taxes if you are handling leases on your own.

In 2011, the Florida Legislature preempted cities and counties prohibiting or regulating vacation rentals unless such prohibition or regulations were adopted prior to June 1, 2011. This again was due to Florida being so transient. Since 2011 many cities have chosen to put specific short-term guidelines in place. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, if you rent your property, you have to pass an annual inspection and register the property with the city. In Bonita Springs, you have to have an annual inspection if you have a rental property.

If you intend to buy a property in Florida that will be used for short-term rentals be sure to do your homework. Know your local laws and don’t forget to review your HOA covenants before investing!