Starting a Vacation Rental in St. Augustine, FL: Legal Considerations

Starting a Vacation Rental in St. Augustine, FL: Legal Considerations

Florida's tourism industry has recently hit all-time records, with 2022 seeing 137.6 million tourists. As the tourism industry continues to bloom, many investors are looking for the best way to benefit from the industry.

In St. Augustine, we enjoy a rich history and easy access to some of the Sunshine State's most beautiful beaches. Many property management specialists choose to turn their vacation home into a vacation rental property to benefit from this location. But what are the important legal considerations for vacation rentals?

If you're curious about short-term rental regulations, we're here to help guide you. Read on to learn more about owning a vacation rental and staying up-to-code on the regulations.

Housing Standards

The first (and arguably most important) factor is housing standards.

St. Augustine has strict standards for vacation rental properties. To start, the codes require a Life-Safety Inspection. The inspection is performed by the St. Augustine Fire Department.

You'll have the inspection once you register the business. Afterward, you'll need to have annual inspections. The local government can also choose to have an emergency inspection if they suspect you've fallen out of code.

In regard to housing standards, you also should make sure guests abide by noise regulations. If your property is on the beach, there are also light regulations, especially during turtle nesting season.

Local Taxes

Another factor to keep in mind is the tourist taxes and local taxes.

The St. Johns County Ordinance 2021-43 dictates a 1% tourist development tax. However, that tax was raised to 5% in 2021.

These laws frequently are shifted or replaced, so do your best to stay up to date. Doing so can stop you from suddenly paying significantly more taxes than you expected.


As with any business, you'll need to register for a business license.

Short-term rentals require a specific license as well. You'll need to register each of your listings. For example, if your investment portfolio includes five short-term rentals, all five will need to be registered.

The registration fees are commensurate with the size of the rental. In essence, the larger a property, the higher the registration fee will be.

Regardless of the size, each property has a base rate of $294.48. Afterward, there is a $73.81 per rental bedroom added on. With this information, you can math out how much your vacation rental property will cost to register.

Other Information

There are more miscellaneous codes to keep in mind. For example, each rental unit has to provide at least one parking space per on-site bedroom.

The parking spaces often need to be stabilized with concrete, pavers, gravel, or concrete. A lot of grass or sand is not acceptable. There also can be no more than 12 occupants in any rental.

Understanding Legal Considerations for Vacation Rentals

Knowing the legal considerations for vacation rentals is crucial to avoid steep fees or the closure of your vacation home. Understand these laws and codes before stepping into property management so that you can have a successful business.

Interested in learning more about owning a vacation home? Contact us at PMI Palm Valley to see how we can help you in your journey.