St. Johns County passes new short-term rental rules
- May 11, 2021 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
Short-term rental operators in St. Johns County, Florida, will be required to register with the county by November 5 under new regulations passed by the St. Johns County Commission.
Changes to the county Land Development Code will also limit vacation rentals to 10 guests at a time, a rule that will be phased in over three years for existing rentals. Short-term rental operators must also abide by parking, noise, and garbage rules.
Operators who break the rules will first get a warning then face citations and fines for further violations.
The new rules apply to unincorporated county properties east of the Intracoastal Waterway, with exceptions for owner-occupied units; duplexes with at least one unit occupied by the owner; and multifamily units with homeowners associations, condo associations, or on-site property management. The cities of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach already have their own short-term rental laws.
An estimated 2,302 short-term vacation rental units are currently operating in the area of St. Johns County affected by the regulations.
The commission waited to pass the legislation until after the state legislative session. A bill that would have further limited local governments’ ability to regulate short-term rentals failed to pass, leaving the county free to institute new rules.
Current state law does not allow local governments to ban short-term rentals entirely or regulate the length of stays or their frequency, but local governments may pass rules to control negative effects of vacation rentals.
The defeated state bill also would have required short-term rental marketplaces such as Airbnb and Vrbo to collect and remit lodging taxes on their listings.
Short-term rental hosts in St. Johns County must register with county tax authorities, collect the county’s Tourist Development Tax from guests, and file regular tax returns with the county. They must also apply for a Florida Vacation Rental Dwelling License, obtain a state tax certificate, and collect state taxes.
Airbnb and Vrbo automatically collect and remit state lodging taxes on behalf of their hosts. However, neither marketplace collects St. Johns County lodging taxes, so hosts are responsible for county taxes themselves.
MyLodgeTax can help vacation rental hosts automate and simplify lodging tax compliance on the local and state level, including tax registration and filing. For more on vacation rental lodging taxes in Florida, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.