By The Hospitable Team
The United States is a vast country that offers many opportunities for aspiring investors looking to buy a property to rent it out on Airbnb. But when deciding whether to become a short-term rental host, you need to understand how laws and regulations work in your city.
The problem is that short-term rental laws and regulations are very local in nature and can be very confusing. Moreover, some cities may restrict your ability to rent out your property short-term, trying to keep the rapid growth of Airbnb rentals in check.
So if you’re thinking about turning your property into a vacation rental, here you’ll find information about different aspects of current Airbnb regulations by state. We’ll talk about short-term rental laws in some popular locations for Airbnb investments and look at the specific rules in some vacation rental hotspots.
You may also want to check out our Airbnb hosting guide for beginners, which covers all the essential things you need to do to become a successful STR host.
Airbnb Regulations by State and City
With its launch in 2008, Airbnb disrupted the vacation rental market, allowing travelers to rent single rooms or entire homes cheaper. And for property owners, renting out their homes short-term has become a desirable way to start a real estate side hustle and earn extra income. But in recent years, many states and cities across the US have enforced strict Airbnb and vacation rental regulations that vary from one place to another.
Keep in mind that Airbnb regulations in the United States are constantly changing, and this article shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. So do your due diligence and consult your local lawyer to ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to follow the local laws and regulations.
Understanding the current short-term rental regulations in your city is critical for your business’s success. Once you’ve set it up, consider using vacation rental software like Hospitable.com to automate your routine. Hospitable can help you manage conversations with guests using automated messages and ChatGPT integration, sync calendars across major OTA platforms, assign tasks to your team automatically, and more.
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Airbnb Regulations in Florida
According to Florida state law, local governments are prohibited from banning short-term rentals altogether and can’t limit the length or frequency of stays. This makes Florida one of the preferred states for those who are interested in investing in vacation rentals. But county and city governments can pass their own rules to control the negative impact of vacation rentals on local communities.
In Florida, all vacation rentals, including Airbnbs, must be licensed through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). You must get a license from the DBPR if you rent out an entire unit more than three times in a year for periods of less than 30 days or if you promote the unit to the public as a place frequently rented out to guests.
DBPR license is not required if you want to rent out a single room or several rooms which do not qualify as public lodging. But such rentals may still be subject to other city, county, or other local-level requirements.
STR operators in Florida pay several different taxes, including:
- Income tax is paid annually to the federal government and the state government
- State sales tax is paid to the Florida Department of Revenue—in Florida, it’s 6%
- County-imposed sales surtax varies depending on the county—you can find county rates on the DR-15DSS form
- Local option transient rental tax varies between counties—county rates and instructions on reporting and remitting can be found on the DR-15TDT form
STR regulations in Kissimmee, FL
In Kissimmee, short-term rentals are defined as guest stays of less than six months, and running a short-term rental business is only allowed in certain zoning districts. You should consult the City of Kissimmee Planning Division to determine whether your listing meets zoning requirements or uses definitions. Property owners also need to apply for a Business Tax Receipt before starting an STR business.
STR regulations in Miami, FL
Miami imposes restrictions on vacation rental properties listed on the CDMP Land Use Map Plan as Estate or Low-Density Residential. The Responsible Party—usually the owner—must live in the property for more than six months in a calendar year. Moreover, the rental may occur at the same time that the Responsible Party is residing on the property.
The maximum overnight occupancy for all Miami vacation rentals is up to 2 persons per bedroom plus two additional persons per property. The maximum overnight occupancy must not exceed 12 persons, excluding children under three.
Short-term Rental Regulations in New York
The state of New York defines short-term rentals as renting dwellings for less than 30 consecutive days. But for tax purposes, they are defined as reservations of fewer than 90 consecutive days.
At the state level, short-term rentals are regulated by New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, which doesn’t allow short-term rentals in residential multifamily buildings—”Class A” multiple dwellings. But it might be possible to rent out a room within most apartment buildings if the permanent resident lives there during the guest’s stay. So owner-occupied rentals of part of a property might be an option if all parts of the apartment are available to the paying guest.
Licensing and taxes
There are no statewide requirements for short-term rental licenses and permits. But most cities and towns across the state have strict requirements for licensing vacation rentals.
New York vacation rentals are subject to state sales tax of 4%, local sales taxes, and local lodging taxes. Vacation rental owners must register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to get a sales tax certificate of authority.
New York City STR laws
New York City has restrictive STR regulations outlined in the NYS Multiple Dwelling Law, the NYC Administrative Code, and the New York City Zoning Resolution. These restrictions prohibit renting out an entire apartment or home to guests for less than 30 days, even if you own it or live in the building. Hosts must be present throughout a guest’s stay if it is for less than 30 days and can host only two paying guests at a time.
On January 9, 2022, New York City adopted Local Law 18, also known as the Short-Term Rental Registration Law, which requires STR hosts to register with the Office of Special Enforcement (OSE). The NYC Local Law 18 prohibits OTA platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo from processing transactions for unregistered listings.
Airbnb Regulations in Texas
Being the fourth most visited state in the US, Texas has minimal state-level regulations for short-term rentals and allows city governments to determine their laws and regulations. Due to the high demand for vacation rentals, affordable property prices, and a favorable business environment, Texas offers excellent opportunities for running a successful Airbnb business. But it’s important to understand the state and city-level laws and regulations well.
If you list your property on other OTA sites, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and increase your occupancy rate and revenue. Managing listings on multiple platforms using vacation rental software like Hospitable will be easier. Our tool instantly syncs your calendars across platforms and protects you from double bookings.
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Licensing and taxes
There are no requirements to get a license at the state level to run a vacation rental business in Texas. But many major cities have specific licensing requirements, so you must check them before listing your property on Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking.com.
STR property owners in Texas are also expected to pay two types of taxes:
- 6% State hotel occupancy tax that is collected by the Texas Comptroller’s Office
- Local lodging tax collected by the local tax authorities
STR laws in Dallas, TX
Currently, there are no specific Dallas short-term rental regulations except for tax purposes. But there have been hot debates within the city’s legislative authorities for a few years. Dallas City Council members are discussing the proposed city code and zoning changes that would make short-term rentals illegal in residential neighborhoods but legal in commercial areas.
Such cities as Arlington and Fort Worth have already restricted short-term rentals from their residential neighborhoods.
Airbnb Regulations in California
California has strict regulations for short-term rentals. Although statewide short-term rental laws are not very detailed, they allow local authorities to determine regulations and restrictions in the areas under their jurisdiction.
Many cities in California restrict short-term rentals, and some cities, for example, Irvine and Temecula, even completely ban them. Most cities require hosts to register their units and get a license or a permit. STR property owners must also pay transient occupancy tax (TOT). The rate varies between counties and cities and generally ranges from 6% to 14%.
STR laws in Los Angeles, CA
The Home-Sharing Ordinance that went into effect in 2019 limits hosting short-term rentals only to the host’s primary residence, where a host lives for more than six months per year. This form of home-sharing is also limited to 120 days per year, and hosts must register with the city. A host can run only a single short-term rental.
Vacation rental regulations in Palm Springs, CA
Hosts must get a Vacation Rental or Homeshare Registration Certificate and a Transient Occupancy Tax permit to operate any short-term rental legally. The property owner must sign a written contract with a responsible person of 25 years of age or older who will meet and greet guests in person and explain the local rules and regulations to them. The maximum occupancy is limited to 2 adult overnight guests per bedroom and one vehicle per bedroom.
In November 2022, Palm Springs adopted an ordinance that limits the number of short-term rentals in its jurisdiction to 20% of homes in residential neighborhoods. The new ordinance also reduces the number of days that a host can rent out their STR property from 36 to 26.
Airbnb laws and regulations in the US change frequently and locally, and some cities have very restrictive rules. So if you’re planning to invest in short-rental property, it’s vital to make due diligence and research Airbnb regulations by state to find cities with the least Airbnb legal issues.
Note: We don’t provide legal advice. If you have questions about Airbnb regulations in your jurisdiction, contact your local government or consult a local lawyer to ensure you’re fully compliant with any laws for your area at the city and state levels.
Starting a limited liability company (LLC) for your Airbnb may be the right option to have an added layer of protection for your personal assets and tax benefits. Here you’ll find general information about creating an LLC for Airbnb in the US.
Renting out your property short-term on platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo can be a viable source of income, but you should remember that you’re starting a business. That means you must understand the laws and regulations governing the short-term rental market.
With platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and many others, it’s easy to rent your property short-term. But while the extra income can be a real boost, you should be aware of the tax rules before you start making money.