Legal Considerations for Vacation Rental Owners in Pensacola, FL

Legal Considerations for Vacation Rental Owners in Pensacola, FL

Imagine you're on vacation in Pensacola, relaxing on its beautiful white sand beaches. Suddenly, a man with a microphone screams at you to get up because you broke one of the beach's rules.

This is a situation vacation homeowners can run into if they're not prepared. Their experience can be spoiled if they don't follow all the area's short-term rental laws.

Read on to learn the major legal considerations for vacation rental owners in Pensacola, FL.


The most basic legal considerations for vacation rental owners are license requirements.

Register with the Florida Department of Business or DBPR. Pay a $50 application fee and a license fee of $90-$170.

There are no opening inspection requirements, but you must file for a Certificate of Balcony Inspection every three years. It checks the safety of your railings, stairwells, or balconies that aren't common to the building.

A vacation rental license lasts for a year. You'll need to renew it after it expires and pay a fee of $25-$400.


Maintaining Florida vacation rental compliance means knowing how land is zoned. You've got to find an area that allows vacation rentals and meets its requirements.

Your lot size should be at least 15,000 square feet. It should be along or at a roadway within a half-mile of a collector or arterial roadway.

Pensacola vacation rental laws also say you can't disturb the local area. This means not creating excessive noise, traffic, or congestion.


Keep up with all local building codes. This means maintaining the property and its security devices such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Clearly post all safety information. This includes emergency contact numbers and the location of fire extinguishers and emergency exits,


One of the best vacation rental legal tips is to be prepared for anything. That means having the right insurance policy.

Standard homeowners insurance doesn't cover short-term rentals. Get a specialized policy known as Vacation Rental Insurance or Landlord Protection Insurance.


There's a whole set of legal guidelines for vacation rentals related to meeting their tax responsibilities.

All vacation rental properties in Florida are subject to the transient rental tax of 6%. It's the same as the state's sales tax. Exceptions exist for military veterans, active-duty service members, or full-time students. Living in Pensacola adds an Escambia County Tourist Development Tax of 5%.

The Discretionary Sales Surtax in Florida is 0.5-1.5% of the rent. It also includes nightly and cleaning or reservation processing fees.

Record your expenses and earnings to ensure you pay enough. It also helps you get all the deductions you're entitled to. Deductible expenses include:

  • Maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Utilities
  • Supplies
  • Legal and accounting fees

Occupancy Limits

There is no limit to how many vacation rental properties you can own in Pensacola. There is a limit to how many people can be in them.

You can have two individuals per bedroom and two additional individuals per property. That results in a cap of twelve people per property, excluding children under six.

Who Can Help Manage Legal Considerations for Vacation Rental Owners?

The most important legal considerations for vacation rental owners surround licenses, zoning, safety, insurance, taxes, and occupancy limits.

PMI C-Shell is a full-service property management company. We provide prompt and friendly service to help you grow your investment. Contact us to start maximizing the value of your vacation home.