Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rental Information

The following information regarding short term rentals is intended to clarify and provide essential information which property owners in Okaloosa County need to know regarding owning and managing vacation rental properties. 

What is a Short Term Rental

In the state of Florida any overnight rental that is less than six months in duration is considered a short term rental (STR). A "vacation rental" is a type of STR and is defined as...

Any individually or collectively owned single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family house or dwelling unit that is also a transient public lodging establishment OR a unit or group of units in a condominium, cooperative or timeshare plan.

Information for Vacationers

Thank you for considering Destin-Fort Walton Beach! We have made it easy for you to start planning your next vacation. Learn more at Destin-FWB.com.

Information for Owners

Important resources:

  • Get required vacation rental licensing from state for a lodging establishment - myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/hotels-restaurants/licensing/vrtsp-guide/
  • Okaloosa Island Protective Covenants - Visit myokaloosa.com/gm/home to view a map and learn more about the Okaloosa Island Zone B-1 protective covenants and restrictions.
  • Pay the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Tax - This tax is applicable to all guests who rent for six (6) months or less. The tourist development tax is currently a 5% tax in addition to the total rental amount received from any person who rents, leases, or lets for consideration any living quarter or sleeping or housekeeping accommodation. For more information contact the Okaloosa County Clerk of Courts & Comptroller at TouristTax@OkaloosaClerk.com or call 850-651-7200 x3492. Visit okaloosaclerk.com/tourist-development-tax to learn more. Visit okaloosatouristtax.munirevs.com to register and remit. 
  • Homestead exemption info - If the owner is not permanently residing in the dwelling or it is a rental, vacation home, or vacant, the property owner could be in violation of the homestead exemption regulations and could possibly be subject to multiple years of property taxes as determined by the Property Appraiser’s Office. For more information contact the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser’s Office at (850) 651-7240 or okaloosapa.com/real-property
  • Interested in exploring options as a Vacation Rental provider and unsure if you're in a restricted area of Okaloosa Island? Please feel free to contact the Growth Management office at 850-651-7180 or visit myokaloosa.com/gm/home

Information for Neighbors

Complaints?

Can the County Prohibit or Restrict Vacation Rentals?

The County cannot prohibit or regulate the duration or frequency of short-term rentals (STRs), including vacation rentals. The Florida Legislature has preempted the County from regulating STRs. See section 509.032(7), Fla. Stat. 

Are there exceptions?

Yes. The Okaloosa Island Covenants and Restrictions limits the uses within any B-1 Private Residential Area and prohibits residence from being “operated as a group or rented to transients.” This restriction predates the 2011 legislative preemption and therefore, is grandfathered and exempt from the statutory requirements. Find more information on the Okaloosa Island Protective Covenants, Restrictions and Okaloosa Island Zoning Map at myokaloosa.com/gm/home

What may the County regulate?

  • The County May:
  • Limit occupancy per unit
  • Require Vacation Rentals to register with the County
  • Require specific information to be posted onsite
  • Impose inspection requirements
  • Regulate parking, solid waste, evacuations, etc.

Legal Opinions

Analysis of the County's ability to regulate short-term rentals, including the legislative history of the preemption and exception of Okaloosa Island. Click HERE for the agenda item and legal printout. Click HERE for one-page memorandum.