The City of Orlando has been looking at their policies that govern Short Term Rentals.  In Orlando, and many other cities across the country, a “Short Term Rental” refers to a residential lease agreement that lasts less than 30 days and according to the City’s Land Development Code, any rental that lasts less than 30 days must be labelled as a Commercial Dwelling Unit, Hotel/Motel, or a Bed and Breakfast.

  • Commercial Dwelling Unit: “A room or rooms connected together and constituting a separate independent unit, for an occupancy period of no less than seven consecutive days and no more than 29 consecutive days, and containing independent cooking and sleeping facilities. Buildings and site must be designed in accordance with multi-family development standards and must have a Business Tax Receipt.”
  • Hotel/Motel: “An establishment consisting of a group of attached or detached lodging units having bathrooms and designed primarily for transient automobile oriented tourists. Must provide a Business Tax Receipt and abide by other state lodging requirements.”
  • Bed and Breakfast: “An accessory use in which a room(s) or lodging unit(s) and “continental” breakfast service only is provided to guest clients, for length of stay ranging from one night to seasonal, by the owner of the principal structure living on site. The site must be owner-occupied and be separated from other B&B uses by 1200 feet. The unit must be over 500 SF and must have a Business Tax Receipt. Other state transient lodging requirements apply.”

According to a City census, there are over 300 Short Term Rentals listed online within City-limits. Most are concentrated within Metrowest, Baldwin Park, and the Traditional City boundaries, and most are illegal. The City’s current stance is not to investigate or fine anyone unless a formal complaint has been lodged.

According to Inside Airbnb (Website), an Airbnb data-sharing website, most listings that are available are actually entire homes where the owner/host is not present.

The City is looking at possibly changing their policies regarding Short Term Rentals but seem to be unsure as to how they should operate under current State laws. The Florida legislature passed a law in 2011 that was meant to prevent local goverments from passing new regulations for short-term rentals, basically tying the hands of City staff, which is why they have chosen to turn a blind eye to the practice unless a neighbor is being negatively impacted by it.

While the Orange County Comptroller has an agreement to collect Tourist Development Taxes on Airbnb rentals, this doesn’t make it legal County-wide. According to the study, referred to below, short-term rentals are really only legal in about 4 percent of the County.

In related news, Airbnb will soon be launching a new City Hosts program to expand their vacation lifestyle brand. City Hosts will function as a for-hire private tour service that matches guests with hosts in cities around the world. The service is currently in beta and only available in London, Paris, Toko, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Existing tours in those cities include immersive papier-mache pinata workshops with the Arte Calidad Cultural Institute, collecting stories and historical anecdotes with blogger Il etait Paris, or learning the art of Korean needlecraft. Prices for these “Experiences” seem to be hovering around the $200 mark.

If you have questions about the process, you can reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Scroll down to see a PowerPoint presentation from a recent City meeting regarding short-term leases.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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