Beginning January 3, 2022, Collier County will require registration of “short-term vacation rentals.” This includes any “habitable space . . . for a term of six months or less. . . . .” unless exempted under state law. To view the Ordinance, click here.
Some may recall that Collier County had a similar rental registration ordinance between 1996 and 2010. The old rental registration requirement was annual beginning in 1999, and a yearly fee was required. The new registration is a one-time requirement (although changes to ownership or the owner’s designated contact person must be reported to the County within ten days).
What do short-term property owners need to do to comply?
In most cases, to have a “code-compliant” rental in unincorporated Collier County, an owner must:
- Register with the State of Florida DBPR;
- Register with the Collier County Tax Collector;
- Obtain (“one time”) a Collier County Registration Certificate for each short-term rental;
- Pre-inform guests of “all applicable” County ordinances (including noise, parking, and garbage);
- Comply with occupancy limits and maintenance requirements;
- Have a contact person available 24/7; and,
- Include County Registration Number on all (print, radio, video, and online) advertising.
A revolution in the industry has occurred mainly due to the proliferation of online platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and TripAdvisor. In 2011 and 2014, the Florida legislature adopted legislative preemptions, limiting local governments’ ability to regulate short-term vacation rentals. Because Collier County did not have an ordinance banning short-term rentals before the “preemption cutoff date” of 2011, essentially regulation of Collier County short-term rentals was bumped to the state level beginning in 2011.
As a result, a limited number of tools remain to regulate these rentals — one of them being a rental registration ordinance. The County’s new rental registration ordinance, and others like them, are not land use limitations (i.e., they do not directly regulate the use itself, nor the occupancy, duration, or frequency of the use).
Between 2010 and up until recently, the County took the position that any rental of a dwelling unit (single-family home or condo) for less than six months was prohibited (unless the zoning district expressly allowed it). However, this prohibition was never codified but was based on custom and the six-month period provided by the state tourist tax law. (Rentals for six months or less require payment of a tourist tax.)
Penalties for non-compliance
Violation of any of the requirements above could subject an owner to enforcement. Fines can be stiff: $500 per day, per incident. For a single-family home, this can get expensive very quickly, upwards of $3,500 per week.
Even more so, multi-family owners should be mindful of these requirements. For example, a failure to register a 100-unit apartment complex before rental (or any violation of the ordinance) could subject the owner to fines of $500 per day times 100 — $50,000 each day or $350,000 per week!
City of Naples
The new rental registration ordinance is effective in unincorporated Collier County. The City of Naples has taken the position that under a 2008 City Ordinance, short-term rental of single-family homes, including advertising of these rentals, is prohibited (unless the zoning district expressly allows it – a rarity in Naples).
Because Naples adopted their 2008 ordinance prior to the state preemptions in 2011 and 2013, Naples has taken the position that its ordinance is grandfathered and fully enforceable.
As proof of transient use can be elusive, enforcement is difficult when based on use. To combat this, city and county governments have increasingly focused enforcement resources toward online advertisements.
If you are considering purchasing a home for short-term rental in Collier County, or if you are renting out your existing home or condo, be sure to keep an eye on current local requirements to avoid unexpected problems.