Understanding Walton County's New Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinances (2024 Updated)

Understanding Walton County's New Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinances (2024 Updated)

Are you a property owner or manager in Walton County grappling with the latest short-term vacation rental regulations? The new ordinances can seem daunting, but it's crucial to understand them to ensure your rental property complies with local laws. This blog post breaks down the key points of Walton County's Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance 2023-03.

What Qualifies as a Short-Term Vacation Rental?

A short-term vacation rental is any unit or group of units in a building or complex rented more than three times a year for periods under 30 days, or advertised as regularly rented to guests.

Exemptions to the Rule

Certain properties are exempt, including:

- Specific condominiums as per Chapters 509 & 718, Florida Statute.
- Single-family dwellings occupied full-time by the owner, declared as homestead.
- Cooperatives and Homeowner’s Associations under Chapters 719-720.
- Multi-family residential developments under common management.
- Properties with multiple dwellings under common ownership, with one dwelling occupied full-time by the owner and declared as homestead.

Applying for a Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate

To apply, you need to:

1. Obtain all State and County Licenses.
2. Submit the Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate Application from Walton County Planning and Development Services.
3. Pay the application fee.

Property Inspections

Properties are not inspected before certificate issuance, but an affidavit confirming compliance with Walton County Florida Code 1.13.16 is required. Inspections may occur based on complaints or notifications from state departments.

The Importance of a Local Responsible Party

A local responsible party must be assigned to respond to inspections, complaints, and issues. This party must be over 18, reachable 24/7, and able to address rental-related issues within an hour.

Changing the Designated Responsible Party

Changes can be made through the Walton County Planning Department. There should only be one responsible party at a time.

Lease/Agreement Requirements

Leases must include maximum occupancy, noise ordinance details, trash and recycling pickup days, evacuation orders, and parking information.

Required Postings at the Rental Property

Certain information must be posted at the rental property, including emergency contact numbers, maximum occupancy, parking details, and local ordinances.

Occupancy and Parking Limits

Occupancy is limited to one person per 150 square feet of heated/cooled living area or a lower agreed-upon number. Parking spaces are established during the certification process.

Additional Requirements

- Compliance with life/safety requirements for single-family and two-family units.
- On-site parking standards.
- On-site sewage treatment limitations.
- Solid waste handling and containment.
- Minimum short-term vacation rental/lease agreement wording.
- Required postings within the rental unit.
- Designation of a responsible local party.
- Conformity of advertising with the Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate.

Compliance with Sanitary and Safety Standards

Rentals must meet Florida Administrative Code 61C-3 standards, including requirements for glassware, utensils, kitchen equipment, ice, locks, and balcony inspections.

Fire Safety Standards

Compliance with Florida Code 69A-43 is mandatory, covering smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, and other safety measures.

Becoming Compliant

There is no grace period for compliance. Properties should already meet state statutes and codes to avoid fines.

Registration and Certification

Separate registrations with the Florida Department of Revenue, Department of Business & Professional Regulation, and Walton County Tourism Development Tax are prerequisites for the Walton County Short-Term Vacation Rental Certificate.


Navigating the complexities of Walton County's short-term vacation rental ordinances is essential for legal and successful property rental. By understanding and adhering to these regulations, property owners and managers can ensure their rentals are safe, compliant, and appealing to guests.

For more detailed information and assistance, property owners and managers are encouraged to consult the full ordinance or seek professional advice.

Walton County Resources: 




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