Vacation Homes Registration as a “Hotel?”

The main legal questions that arise when purchasing a vacation home usually relate to taxes. Most people are aware of the competing burdens places on home owners by the income tax and transfer tax regimes (i.e. Estate and Gift Taxes) and thanks to realtors and tax preparers, most homeowners are also aware of other types of taxes. (see: Taxes, Taxes, and More Taxes.)

Less well known are compliance issues related to Chapter 509 of the Florida Statutes. These Statutes treat transient vacation home rentals similar to rentals of hotel rooms if such homes are rented (or are offered to rent) three times per year for a period of less than 30 days.

Most Vacation homes are advertised as available for rent on a weekly basis. Thus, unless there is a limit of 2 short term rentals per year, most vacation homes fall under the purview of Chapter 509. This has several far-reaching effects.

The main downside of falling under Chapter 509 is that each vacation property must be registered with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations and pay the registration fees. The Department has the authority to then regulate such registered properties (i.e. through Regulations related to sanitation standards, inspections etc.).

The main upside of falling under Chapter 509 is that these Statutes make is much easier to evict unwanted guests who have overstayed their welcome through police action instead of a drawn-out legal action.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and is not intended as legal advice.