Council Approves First Reading of AirBnB Ordinance

By Jeremy Coumbes on July 13, 2022 at 11:18am

Owners of certain rental properties in the City of Jacksonville will have to obtain a license to operate if a set of new ordinances are approved later this month.

Short-term rental properties such as bed and breakfasts, air B&Bs, and VRBOs may soon be subject to licensing, inspections, and certain taxes after the City Council approved the first reading of three newly proposed ordinances.

City Attorney Dan Beard Says the new ordinances are aimed at bringing short-term rental dwellings in line with existing hotel and motel requirements.

We put a lot of work into a short-term rental ordinance that would cover both the standard bed & breakfast, we have a couple of those in town now, as well as short-term rentals that people are familiar with, air B&B, VRBO, and so forth. Changing the zoning ordinance to authorize those in certain classifications.

Every short-term rental will require a special use permit which means every one of those has to come before the plans commission and then the city council before they would be able to obtain a license. That would then also bring them within the purview of our hotel and motel tax so they would be subject to the tax just like the hotels.”

Non-owner-occupied applicants would pay an initial license fee of $150.00, with annual renewals of $75.00. While owner-occupied would pay $150.00 the first year and $50 each year thereafter, and a bed and breakfast short-term rental applicant would pay an initial license fee of $50.00, with annual renewals of $25.00.

The properties would also be required to pass a city inspection, just as hotels and motels currently are.

Beard says the City of Jacksonville has not had any issues with these types of rentals to date. He says the Council feels it is a good idea to update the ordinances now to get out ahead of any possible future issues.

As we see more air B&Bs appearing across the country, and we anticipate some of those in the Jacksonville area, we would at least be in a position where we would have them licensed, have them inspected and ready to operate so you know basically what you’re getting into.”

Other requirements include off-street parking being required for each rentable room in residential areas, and having a designated manager who can respond to any onsite complaints in-person within thirty minutes. And no short-term rental would be permitted to rent a space for a period of less than 24 hours.

During the workshop session discussion prior to the regular meeting, Ward 3 Alderman Kent Hannant asked if changes such as these could be implemented for rentals such as apartment buildings and houses as a way to ensure they are properly maintained.

City Attorney Beard said he was not aware of any municipality that had that type of ordinance, but that he would research it.

The Jacksonville City Council is scheduled to meet next on Monday, July 25th when the ordinances will be considered for final approval.