City says one thing / Property Manager says another

Hi all. I’m new to this site and also new to STR. We inherited a property in Jacksonville, FL and instead of selling, we decided to keep it since there is still a large mortgage on the house. We are in process of preparing the home for Air BnB rental and have been chatting with a property management company for months now. I had asked the property manager about city licensing and he had told me that they’d assist and that air bnb’s are allowed. Though, I just called the city to double check and was told that STR’s are not allowed. I’m so confused because there are plenty of Air BNB listings in the nearby areas. The city zoning person said that they don’t regulate Air BNB and VRBO. Does anyone know what this means? Are people finding work-arounds or are there ways to get around this? I’m a little scared of breaking any laws so want to ensure we’re going about things properly and now I’m not sure why my property manager said it was fine, when the city says it isnt. This is also a large popular property management company (not a small mom and pop). Any help would be appreciated.

This is an international forum and the chance of another host from Jacksonville seeing your post is small. Instead you should check if there is a facebook group for Jacksonville hosts. Or consult a real estate attorney in your city.


I was trying to post an article, but it wasn’t working out.
Here’s the article from Jacksonville:

What You Need to Know About Vacation Rentals in the City of Jacksonville

Provided by City of Jacksonville Planning Department

One of the most common inquiries we receive in the Planning Department is whether short-term vacation rentals are permitted within the City of Jacksonville. Because this is one of our more frequent questions, we thought it would be a good opportunity to clarify and define the rules.

Definitions—A Vacation Rental is the transient rental of a Single-Family Dwelling where a room, rooms, or the entire dwelling is offered for compensation for fewer than 30 days. This includes whole-house rentals as well as the rental of individual rooms in a house while the owner is present. A Bed and Breakfast facility is an owner-occupied historically listed establishment in a residential district having rooms or apartments rented, or kept for rent. Long-term rentals are 30 days or more and are considered an outright permitted use in existing, permitted residential structures.

Where are Short-term Rentals Permitted?—There are only two zones where short-term vacation rentals may be conditionally approved: General Commercial and Historic Core.

Where are Short-term Rentals Not Permitted?—For all other zones (Single Family Residential, Multi-Family, Hillside Residential, Border Residential, and Special Protection) short-term vacation rentals are not permitted. Only long-term rentals (30 days or more) are permitted in residential districts. There is a Conditional Use Permit process for Bed and Breakfast facilities, but only owner-occupied residences which are on the Jacksonville Contributing Historic Landmark List may be permitted as a Bed and Breakfast facility, subject to Planning Commission review.

What is Required by the City?—Prior to operating a short-term vacation rental in either of the zones where vacation rentals may be permitted, property owners are required to apply for a land use permit (Performance Review) with the City of Jacksonville Planning Department. The Performance Review requires review by the full Planning Commission. The Planning Commission evaluates impacts the use will have on city facilities and neighborhoods. If approved, short-term rental permit holders must then also obtain a business license with the City of Jacksonville and pay the transient lodging tax.

Any property owner concerned about compliance with short-term rental rules may submit a formal complaint to the City of Jacksonville Planning Department for review. Forms are available at the Planning Department. Complaint information will be kept confidential per ORS 192.502 (4): “Information submitted to a public body in confidence and not otherwise required by law to be submitted, where such information should reasonably be considered confidential, the public body has obliged itself in good faith not to disclose the information, and when the public interest would suffer by the disclosure.”

If you have any questions about short-term vacation rentals, please contact the City of Jacksonville Planning Department at 541-899-6873.

By Jacksonville Review Online|September 13th, 2017|City Hall Happenings|Comments Offon What You Need to Know About Vacation Rentals in the City of Jacksonville

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Ahh, thanks for the tip. Will do!

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This is very helpful— thank you so much for taking time to post this.

Yikes—well I guess that makes my STR venture a no go :frowning:

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I interpret that as meaning that the City is not actively looking for properties that are flouting the law. So, if no one complains about the STR the City is [currently] not going on the Airbnb and VRBO and other STR sites and shutting these properties down.

You might want to check out this thread where an STR owner talks about a 7-day minimum rental in a residential zone and also about receiving a cease and desist order from a zoning officer (but just to meet the 7-day minimum, which I don’t see anywhere else except for accessory dwelling units for residential homes): STR regulations for City of Jacksonville, Florida

I assume that your property is not in the Historic Core zone.

BTW, Airbnb has info on Airbnbs in Jacksonville FL here: Jacksonville, FL - Airbnb Help Center
But nothing new from what @zillacop provided.

I don’t know that I would give up on the idea just yet.

Talk to this property manager face-to-face about your research and hear what the manager has to say.

It’s probably the case that many are flouting the law and the City is largely looking away for now. You might/might not want to take your chances.

The city laws might change.

You could look to buy time by taking your chances in an STR [not recommending that, just laying out the options] or exploring long-term rentals or even 30 day+ rentals to visiting nurses or other specialized groups. Perhaps the city’s laws will change in the future to permit STRs in residential areas. You might even visit your representative to discuss it.

Because the property manager is in business to make money. Maybe they are “getting away with it”, so don’t care. Big property management companies don’t care about a lot of things. Like taking good care of guests and the property. Like caring how the rental affects the neighbors.

If I were you, I would do my own research, and certainly not try to “get away with it”. And if you do find out that your place is in an area where strs are allowed, consider looking for a local co-host who manages a few properties, as they are likely to be much easier to work with and earn you better reviews than a big property management company will.

Some of these property managers have abysmal ratings, with guests complaining about poor cleaning, poor responsiveness to issues, poor maintenance, etc.

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Useful link from @zillacop seems to make the position in Jacksonville clear. It tells you which zones STRs are permitted in and which aren’t. And that where permitted you need to apply for a license.

Never rely on a property manager for guidance you need to read the legislation.

Do illegal listings exist - of course. Can you risk huge fines in the US for having them certainly. @New2AirBNB

also as a heads up, those large property management group don’t always do a great job, and many of us think they are ruining Airbnb.


It’s pretty obvious really. The property is in your name and you’re the person who would be prosecuted for having an illegal rental. As the owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you comply with all local regulations, taxes and business licenses.

The manager just wants to make money from you as @muddy says.

Please do not be tempted to try to fly under the radar. I co-host for a neighbour and when he started, he was an illegal rental.

He had a notice affixed to his door that he would be fined $500 per day until he removed his listing from the internet. Once he satisfied them that he had all the necessary legal stuff, he was allowed to use the apartment as a STR.

This was several years ago. Today that daily fine would probably be a lot more than $500.

Local authorities take illegal STRs very seriously.

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