Many who own property in Islamorada are part-time residents who use their off time to rent out their properties for rental income. The market for vacation rentals in Islamorada has exploded in recent years, but changes are coming that will impact those who market their homes as vacation rentals. As per the village, a vacation rental is any property that rents out for between 7-28 days at a time.
The Islamorada City Council met last week and addressed several topics having to do with the vacation rental market. According to the village’s vacation rental program, established back in 2008, all properties that will be used as vacation rentals must be officially registered with the village and must pay annual licensing fees. Currently, the annual fee required of Islamorada real estate owners who are interested in using their property as a vacation rental is $1,000. Village council members have agreed to raise this annual fee to $1,325. Mayor Buddy Pinder pointed out that this increase is necessary and nominal, especially in comparison with the $2,500 recommendation of the Achievable Housing Advisory Committee.
When the vacation rental program was established in 2008, there were 164 registered properties with vacation rental status. In 2021, that number has jumped to 260. The mayor and council members are quite concerned about the number of homeowners who do not register and still rent their home out illegally. To address this issue, the council announced that it will be using a third-party software, called Rentalscape, to identify and locate properties listed for vacation rental that are not registered with the village. A main focus in the upcoming year will be on code enforcement to generate revenue and crack down on the vast numbers of vacation rentals in the village. The program will analyze short term rentals found on popular vacation rental sites HomeAway, VRBO, and AirBnB to cross-reference with the village’s registered short term rental owners.
If you own a home in Islamorada or are looking to purchase a home for sale in Islamorada and are planning on offering it as a short-term rental in the future it is important that you understand the new rules and register with the Islamorada City Council to avoid penalties and fines.