Are short-term rentals allowed in Tampa/St Petersburg/Clearwater?

short term rental in St Petersburg FLWe get asked all the time whether Short Term Rentals (STR), often referred to as vacation rentals and marketed through sites like Airbnb and VRBO, are allowed in St Petersburg, Clearwater, and other parts of the Tampa Bay area. 

It depends!

There are actually 24 different municipalities in Pinellas County (including St Pete and Clearwater), plus some unincorporated areas which fall under the County’s jurisdiction, each with its own rules regarding short term rentals. Hillsborough County is somewhat simpler, with only the three incorporated cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City. This has resulted in a complex framework of local municipal ordinances and regulations related to short term rentals.  

Furthermore, even in municipalities that do allow short term rentals, that doesn’t mean they allow vacation rentals everywhere – it often still depends on the zoning of a particular parcel. 

Adding yet another layer of complexity, properties in communities or developments with Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) or Condo Owner’s Associations (COAs) must also comply with the rules and restrictions on short term rentals promulgated by these groups, which can change over time.

There’s a list!

Thankfully, the Pinellas Realtor Organization has compiled a comprehensive list of municipal ordinances and points of contact related to short term rentals in the Tampa Bay area. This list can be found at

How do the cities enforce it?

For the most part, violations of a city’s short term rental ordinance are considered code violations. Each city has it’s own process for code enforcement, but most involve violation notices, hearings, and even the potential for fines and liens against your property. Some cases even end up in litigation.

But DO THEY REALLY enforce it?

Many homeowners believe that short term rentals erode the character of residential neighborhoods, and many municipalities are concerned about the loss in tax revenue and increased liability from properties operating outside of proper zoning and licensing rules. If you’re thinking about ignoring the rules and marketing your property as a short term rental in an area where it’s not allowed, you should be aware that some municipalities continue to fight the short term rental trend. Here are a few recent local news articles you should be aware of:

Are there good alternatives to short-term rentals?

If you are looking to maximize your rental income, but your property is in an area where short term rentals are not allowed, two possible alternatives include medium-term rentals or coliving/homeshare. 

  • Medium-term rentals often target traveling nurses and other contracted professionals who often stay in a city for 90 to 180 days to work on a particular contract or project. These individuals often prefer fully furnished housing, and in many cases they receive a housing allowance or stipend to offset their housing costs. With healthcare being of of our largest industries, there is certainly a market for medium-term rentals in the Tampa Bay area, and these are generally looked upon favorably by municipal ordinances. 
  • Coliving/Homeshare is a more recent trend where larger (5+ bedroom) single family homes have the common areas such as the kitchen, living room, and dining room fully furnished, and rent the (often unfurnished) bedrooms “by the room” to tenants. This living arrangement is often better suited to recent college graduates or individuals moving to a new city who want to take a few months to get their bearings before committing to a long term housing option. Most municipalities do not regulate the rental of a single family home with 6 or fewer residents, and coliving/homeshare properties often collect much higher rent, and experience much lower vacancy, than a traditional long term rental. Visit our Coliving Property Management page for more info!