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Orlando Commission Votes to Allow Airbnb

Yesterday the Orlando City Commission approved a plan that will allow homeowners to rent out a room, in-law suite, or even a couch, for guests staying fewer than 30 days. The plan passed with a 6-1 approval and the only commissioner who didn’t vote for the plan was Tony Ortiz, likely because his constituency resides on mostly R1 property that is either owner-occupied or leased in long-term rentals.

In our Downtown and urban neighborhoods, R-2 lot zoning has afforded a lot of homeowners the flexibility to construct apartments above their garages or simply detached in-law suites. Typically 1 or 2 bedrooms, these units have separate electric and water meters, with private entrances for the occupants to come and go without disturbing the property owners.

Prior to yesterday, city code prohibited any rentals for less than 30 days and homeowners faced fines and potential liens for violating the code. This vote has opened the door for homeowners to take advantage of the higher nightly rates offered in the short-term rental market. Properties with detached rentals, like this Delaney Park listing, should expect to see an increase in value now that the door has been opened for legal short-term rentals.

There is a caveat to the approval of this new rule and it requires that the homeowner remain on site while their property is leased. The provision was included to protect neighborhoods from turning into strictly vacation home areas like what’s seen in parts of Osceola County.

Lastly, there is still an effort in the Florida Senate to prevent local governments from regulating their own property and instead place control in the hands of the state. At this time, the plan approved last is scheduled to go into affect on July 1, 2018.

For access to a list of properties with garage or in-law apartments, contact Don Harkins, REALTOR® at (321)377-0341 or search online at

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