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Broward County, Florida Short-Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Broward County, Florida

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What are Short-Term Rental (Airbnb, VRBO) Regulations in Broward County, Florida?

Short-term rentals, such as those listed on Airbnb and VRBO, have become increasingly popular in Broward County, Florida. However, property owners must navigate a complex set of regulations at the city, county, and state levels to operate legally. This article provides an overview of the key rules and requirements for starting and running a short-term rental business in Broward County.

Starting a Short-Term Rental Business in Broward County

To begin operating a short-term rental in Broward County, property owners must first obtain the necessary licenses and permits. The specific requirements vary by city, but generally include:

  • State and County Licenses: Owners must apply for a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and obtain a Broward County Business Tax Receipt.
  • City Registration: Many cities in Broward County, such as Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, and Hollywood, require vacation rentals to register annually and pay associated fees. For example, Fort Lauderdale charges a $350 registration fee for up to 4 rental units under the same roof.
  • Inspections: Some cities, like Oakland Park, require short-term rentals to pass inspections to ensure compliance with safety standards. Fees for inspections and re-inspections may apply.
  • Zoning Restrictions: Certain areas within cities may have zoning laws that restrict where short-term rentals can operate. Owners should familiarize themselves with these provisions to ensure compliance.

In addition to local requirements, short-term rental operators must also adhere to state regulations. Florida law mandates that properties rented more than three times a year for less than 30 days must acquire a DBPR license. This process involves providing property details, building information, and agreeing to human trafficking prevention training for employees.

Owners must also collect and remit the appropriate taxes, including the 6% Broward County Tourist Development Tax, 6% Florida Transient Tax, and 0.5-1.5% Florida Discretionary Sales Surtax. Platforms like Airbnb often collect these taxes on behalf of hosts.

Failure to comply with short-term rental regulations can result in fines and penalties. For example, in Fort Lauderdale, violators may face fines and the revocation of their rental license.

By understanding and adhering to the various city, county, and state requirements, property owners can successfully launch and operate short-term rental businesses in Broward County. Staying informed about any changes to local ordinances, such as Fort Lauderdale's September 2023 amendments, is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding potential issues.

Short-Term Rental Licensing Requirements in Broward County

To legally operate a short-term rental in Broward County, property owners must obtain a Residential Rental Certificate from the county's Urban Planning Division Code Compliance Section. This requirement applies to properties located in unincorporated areas of the county, also known as the Broward Municipal Services District (BMSD). Properties within city limits should contact their respective city for local certificate programs.

The process for obtaining a Residential Rental Certificate involves:

Submitting a completed application along with a non-refundable $75 annual registration fee. Applications can be mailed or delivered in person to:

Urban Planning Division
CODE COMPLIANCE SECTION
1 North University Drive, #102
Plantation, FL 33324

  1. Passing an exterior property inspection conducted by a Code Compliance officer to ensure the property meets maintenance standards.
  2. Addressing any outstanding code violations, lot clearing liens, or bills identified in the inspection report.

The certificate is valid for one year and must be renewed annually. Failure to register and obtain the required certificate may result in civil penalties for the property owner or landlord.

In addition to the Residential Rental Certificate, STR operators in Broward County must also:

  1. Obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt from the county for each rental property location, which costs between $45 to $200 depending on the business classification.
  2. Register with the county's Tourist Development Tax Section and collect/remit the 6% Tourist Development Tax on all stays of 6 months or less.
  3. Acquire a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) if renting the property more than 3 times per year for periods under 30 days.

The processing time for the Residential Rental Certificate is not specified, but the inspection is scheduled after submitting the application and fee. STR operators who fail to comply with licensing and tax requirements may face significant penalties, including:

  1. Fines up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to 60 days for violating the county ordinance
  2. Tax warrant liens placed on the property
  3. Misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment for failing to collect/remit taxes

By carefully following the county's STR regulations and staying current on annual renewals, property owners can avoid costly penalties and legally operate vacation rentals in Broward County.

Required Documents for Broward County Short-Term Rentals

To operate a short-term rental in Broward County, property owners must obtain and submit the following documents:

Residential Rental Certificate Application: This application, available from the Broward County Urban Planning Division, is required for all residential rental properties in unincorporated areas of the county (BMSD). It includes owner, property, and rental information. A non-refundable $75 annual registration fee must be submitted with the application.

Proof of Ownership: Applicants must provide documentation verifying ownership of the rental property, such as a deed or property tax bill.

DBPR License: If renting the property more than three times per year for periods under 30 days, owners must obtain a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). This involves providing property details, building information, and completing human trafficking prevention training.

Local Business Tax Receipt: STR operators must obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt from Broward County for each rental property location. Fees range from $45 to $200 depending on the business classification. Certain professional business categories may need to submit additional permits, licenses, or certifications.

Tourist Development Tax Registration Form: Owners must register with the Broward County Tourist Development Tax Section using the registration form, which requires rental property, owner, and dealer/lessee information. After registering, a filing frequency will be assigned for reporting rental receipts and remitting the 6% Tourist Development Tax.

These documents serve to ensure STRs meet safety standards, are properly licensed, and pay the required taxes. Failure to obtain and maintain these documents can result in fines, penalties, and legal action against the property owner.

Broward County Short-Term Rental Taxes

Short-term rental operators in Broward County must collect and remit several taxes on their rental income. The primary taxes that apply are:

  1. Florida Transient Rental Tax: This is a statewide sales tax of 6% on the total rental charge, including any cleaning fees, for stays of 6 months or less. It is collected by the host and remitted to the Florida Department of Revenue.
  2. Florida Discretionary Sales Surtax: In addition to the statewide transient rental tax, Broward County imposes a 1% discretionary sales surtax on short-term rentals. This tax is collected by the host and remitted along with the 6% state tax.
  3. Broward County Tourist Development Tax: Also known as a "bed tax", this is a 6% tax on the total rental charge for accommodations rented for 6 months or less. It applies to hotels, motels, apartments, condos, timeshares, and single-family homes. The tax is collected by the host and remitted to the Broward County Tourist Development Tax Section.

In total, short-term rental operators in Broward County must collect and remit 13% in taxes on their rental income - 6% for the statewide transient rental tax, 1% for the county discretionary sales surtax, and 6% for the county tourist development tax.

Failure to register, collect, and remit these taxes can result in significant penalties, including fines up to $500 and/or 60 days imprisonment for violating the county ordinance, misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment for failing to collect/remit taxes, and tax liens placed on the rental property.

Potential Tax Deductions

While short-term rentals generate taxable income, hosts can offset some of their tax liability by claiming eligible deductions on their federal income tax return. Potential write-offs include:

  1. Mortgage interest and property taxes
  2. Maintenance, cleaning, and repair costs
  3. Utilities paid by the host
  4. Insurance premiums
  5. Service fees charged by rental platforms like Airbnb
  6. Depreciation of the rental property (excluding land) over 27.5 years

Hosts should keep detailed records and receipts to support any deductions claimed. Consulting with a tax professional is recommended to ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local tax laws pertaining to short-term rentals.

Florida-Wide Short-Term Rental Rules

In addition to local regulations in Broward County, short-term rental hosts must also comply with state-level laws and requirements in Florida. These statewide rules provide a framework for the vacation rental industry, while still allowing for some local control.

Key statewide short-term rental regulations include:

  1. Licensing: If a property is rented more than three times a year for periods of less than 30 days, the owner must obtain a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). This involves submitting a DBPR application, providing property details, and completing a human trafficking awareness training.
  2. Taxation: Short-term rental hosts must collect and remit the 6% Florida Transient Rental Tax, along with any applicable local option taxes which can range from 0.5-1.5% depending on the county. Platforms like Airbnb collect and remit state taxes on behalf of hosts in most cases.
  3. Occupancy Limits: A 2024 Florida law set occupancy caps at two people per bedroom, plus two additional people in one common area. Alternatively, if each person has at least 50 square feet of space, more than two per bedroom are allowed, plus two extra in a common area.
  4. Registration & Inspections: The 2024 law allows, but does not require, local governments to mandate registration of vacation rentals and charge a "reasonable fee." Cities and counties may also require property inspections and designating a local contact person to respond to issues.
  5. Fines & Suspensions: Local authorities can levy fines up to $500 for registration violations. They may also suspend rental licenses if a property violates ordinances that don't solely target vacation rentals five times in a 60-day span, or after two prior suspensions.
  6. Grandfathering: Vacation rental regulations approved by local governments before June 1, 2011, can remain in effect. Ordinances passed after that date must comply with the new statewide law.

It's important to note that these state-level regulations set minimum standards, but counties and cities can adopt additional rules within this framework. For example, Broward County requires an annual Residential Rental Certificate for short-term rentals in unincorporated areas.

To avoid penalties and maintain compliance, Broward hosts should carefully research both the Florida-wide short-term rental laws and the specific city and county requirements that apply to their property.

Does Broward County Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

Based on discussions among Airbnb hosts and real estate investors on BiggerPockets and Reddit, Broward County appears to be relatively Airbnb-friendly compared to neighboring counties like Miami-Dade. While Broward does have licensing and registration requirements for short-term rentals, the rules seem to be more straightforward and less restrictive than in Miami.

However, this doesn't mean that Broward County turns a blind eye to STR violations. Hosts have reported that the county does enforce its ordinances, with one Reddit user describing how their neighbor's illegal Airbnb in Dania Beach was shut down after they filed a complaint with code enforcement. The county requires all short-term rentals to register annually and obtain a license, or face potential fines and penalties.

That said, there are indications that some hosts do operate STRs in Broward without obtaining the proper licenses, at least initially. On BiggerPockets, a host shared that their neighbor advised them it can take 6 months or more to get a rental license approved in Fort Lauderdale. They were debating whether to launch their Airbnb while waiting on the license, though commenters cautioned about the risks of operating illegally.

Overall, while Broward may be more accommodating of vacation rentals than other South Florida hotspots, the county does actively enforce its STR regulations. Hosts are ill-advised to flout the rules, as getting caught could result in significant fines and legal issues. The prudent approach is to follow the proper registration and licensing steps before listing on Airbnb or other short-term rental platforms.

How to Start a Short-Term Rental Business in Broward County

Starting a short-term rental business in Broward County requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Follow these steps to successfully launch your vacation rental:

  1. Research local regulations: Familiarize yourself with Broward County's short-term rental ordinances, as well as any city-specific rules that apply to your property's location. Pay close attention to licensing requirements, zoning restrictions, occupancy limits, and safety standards. Visit your city's official website or contact the relevant departments for the most up-to-date information on short-term rental regulations.
  2. Obtain necessary licenses and permits: Apply for a Residential Rental Certificate from Broward County's Urban Planning Division Code Compliance Section if your property is in an unincorporated area. If within city limits, contact your city for their specific requirements. Additionally, obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt from the county and register with the Tourist Development Tax Section. Begin the licensing process early, as it may take several weeks or months to complete. Ensure all required documents, such as proof of ownership, are readily available.
  3. Prepare your property: Ensure your rental property meets all safety and maintenance standards required by the county and city. This may involve making necessary repairs, upgrades, or renovations. Consider hiring a professional inspector to identify any potential issues before your first guests arrive. Focus on creating a welcoming and comfortable space for your guests. Invest in quality furnishings, linens, and amenities to enhance their experience and encourage positive reviews.
  4. Set up your business: Choose an appropriate business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Register your business with the state and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Open a separate bank account for your rental business to keep finances organized. Consult with a tax professional or attorney to determine the best business structure for your specific situation and to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
  5. List your property: Create a compelling listing on popular vacation rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. Include high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and accurate information about your property's amenities, location, and house rules. Set competitive rates based on market research and local demand. Highlight unique features or experiences that set your property apart from others in the area. Offer special packages or discounts to attract bookings during slower periods.
  6. Manage your bookings: Establish a system for managing reservations, guest communication, and cleaning between stays. Consider using vacation rental software to streamline these processes and automate tasks like booking confirmations and payment collection. Respond promptly to guest inquiries and maintain open communication throughout their stay. Provide clear check-in instructions and be available to address any concerns or issues that may arise.
  7. Comply with tax obligations: Collect and remit the required taxes, including the 6% Broward County Tourist Development Tax, 6% Florida Transient Tax, and 0.5-1.5% Florida Discretionary Sales Surtax. Keep accurate records of all income and expenses related to your rental business. Use a tax professional or vacation rental-specific accounting software to ensure proper tax compliance and maximize potential deductions.

By following these steps and staying informed about local regulations, you can successfully launch and operate a short-term rental business in Broward County. Remember to prioritize guest satisfaction, maintain a high-quality property, and adapt to changes in the market to ensure long-term success.

Who to Contact in Broward County about Short-Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

If you have questions about short-term rental regulations or zoning in Broward County, there are several key contacts and resources available:

Broward County Urban Planning Division: For properties located in unincorporated areas of Broward County (BMSD), contact the Urban Planning Division at 954-357-6666 or visit their website at https://www.broward.org/Planning/. They handle zoning, code compliance, and the Residential Rental Certificate program.

Municipal Zoning Departments: If your property is within a city or town, you will need to contact that municipality's zoning department. Use this online tool to find contact information for your local Zoning Administrator: https://www.broward.org/Planning/Zoning/Pages/default.aspx

BMSD Code Enforcement Officers: For specific questions related to your BMSD neighborhood, reach out to the designated Code Enforcement Officer:

  1. Boulevard Gardens & Washington Park: Terrell Williams, 954-519-1424
  2. Broadview Park & Hillsboro Pines/Ranches: Niki Velez, 954-357-9789
  3. Franklin Park: Terrell Williams, 954-519-1424
  4. Roosevelt Gardens: Gerald Henry, 954-357-9787
  5. Code Enforcement Supervisor: Gerald Henry, 954-357-9787

Broward County GIS Section: For questions about geographic data analysis and mapping, contact the GIS Section at 954-357-6634 or gis@broward.org.

In addition to official county resources, there are several online communities where Broward hosts can connect and share information:

  • Broward County Airbnb Hosts Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/browardairbnb/
  • South Florida Airbnb Hosts Forum on BiggerPockets: https://www.biggerpockets.com/forums/530-short-term-vacation-rental-discussions
  • Broward County Subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Broward/ (search for hosting topics)

By engaging with these local government contacts and participating in host communities, you can stay informed about the latest short-term rental regulations in Broward County and get answers to any zoning or compliance questions.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Broward County on Reddit and BiggerPockets Think about Local Regulations?

Airbnb hosts in Broward County have shared their experiences and thoughts on local short-term rental regulations across various online forums. Here are some key insights from verified threads on Reddit and BiggerPockets:

Dania Beach Ordinance Violations (Reddit): In the Fort Lauderdale subreddit, one host reported that their building owner was illegally using the apartment complex for Airbnb rentals in Dania Beach, which prohibits this practice. The host planned to file a code violation complaint with the city, as Dania Beach requires all short-term rentals to register. Commenters supported reporting the violation, noting that many Airbnbs in the area operate in illegal spots or violate ordinances.

Broward vs. Miami-Dade Regulations (BiggerPockets): On the BiggerPockets Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions forum, an investor asked about the differences between short-term rental regulations in Broward County versus Miami-Dade County. They were advised that Miami-Dade is more restrictive and difficult, requiring careful attention to neighborhood zoning and annual permits/inspections. No specific comparisons to Broward were provided by other users.

Vacation Rental Licenses in Hollywood (Reddit): In the Landlord subreddit, a property owner in Hollywood, Florida detailed their experience obtaining vacation rental licenses from the city, county, and state for their duplex. They initially planned to do short-term rentals but later decided to rent to medical professionals for 13+ week stays instead. Commenters noted that Florida cities and counties may have their own regulations and requirements for rentals.

Operating Without a License (BiggerPockets): A host on BiggerPockets asked about the implications of operating an Airbnb in Fort Lauderdale without obtaining the required county licenses, as the approval process can take 6+ months. They wondered about potential liabilities and if they should wait for the license before launching. No responses with specific advice or experiences were provided.

Overall, the experiences shared by Broward County hosts suggest that while the area may be relatively Airbnb-friendly compared to Miami-Dade, it's crucial to comply with local registration and licensing requirements to avoid violations and penalties. Hosts seem aware of the need for city, county, and state licenses, though some may consider operating without them due to lengthy approval times. More specific discussions comparing Broward to other Florida counties were limited in these particular threads.

Disclaimer: While we here at BNBCalc strive to keep all of our regulation guides updated and accurate with all the latest local laws, we still do not suggest using them as your sole or primary source for local regulations. We also do not recommend you rely on the third-party sources we link to or reference, and we are not responsible for any of the information on these third-party sites. These guides are for entertainment purposes only and only provide basic information and should not be considered as legal advice.

We highly recommend directly contacting the responsible parties for each and hearing what their officials have to say. Ultimately, it's your responsibility as an investor to ensure you fully comply with the local laws, and it's best to speak with professionals before making an investment decision.

⚡️
Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.