Rental Restrictions in Manatee County

By: Garret T. Barnes, Esquire, Barnes Walker, Goethe, Perron, & Shea, PLLC

Vacation rentals are regulated in different ways throughout Manatee County, and each city within the County has its own rules and regulations.

City of Anna Maria

The City of Anna Maria does allow short-term rentals; however, there are rules and requirements. One must register the vacation rental unit, pay applicable fees, submit a current license as a Transient Public Lodging Establishment (“TPLE”), and provide other required information. The registration must be renewed annually.

The vacation rental unit must be inspected for compliance with all local and state codes. The maximum occupancy permitted in a vacation rental unit is two (2) persons per bedroom larger than 100 square feet, plus one (1) person per bedroom greater than 70 square feet but less than 100 square feet, plus two (2) additional persons, or a total of eight (8) occupants, whichever is less.

The homeowner must post the required information on the property. The rental agreements between the owner and the renter must mandate language by the city.
Lastly, the owner or agent must be available by telephone twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week, to respond to police, fire, or other emergency personnel requests.

City of Bradenton Beach

The City of Bradenton Beach allows short-term residential or vacation rentals, but the owner must obtain a permit or license from the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is very similar to the Anna Maria requirements for the application of license as set forth above. Once a license has been issued, the City will provide an identification label which must be posted on the exterior of the property at all times when the property is being rented. A sign must be posted on the interior relating various information required by the city. Existing structures used for transient rental purposes must be upgraded to meet current requirements and codes. Information about solid waste handling and containment must be provided to the renter prior to the time of occupancy. Parking and the number of occupants must not exceed the limits set forth in the Certificate of Occupancy or the TPLE license issued by DBPR. Occupancy is limited to two (2) persons per bedroom plus two (2) additional people or one person per 100 square feet for a maximum of twelve (12) persons for any rental.

City of Holmes Beach

The City of Holmes Beach regulates vacation rental units and does not permit a unit to be rented or offered for rent without a valid vacation rental certificate, which is valid for two (2) years from the date of issuance. The minimum length that a vacation rental must be rented for depends on the zoning restrictions, which require either a thirty (30) day minimum rental or a one-week minimum rental, depending on where the property is located. The vacation rental certificate is similar to the City of Anna Maria and the City of Bradenton Beach; however, there are more documents and information required to be submitted, and the vacation rental unit and improvements must be inspected. The maximum overnight occupancy cannot be six (6) persons or two (2) persons per bedroom, whichever is greater. When advertising, the owner must include the maximum occupancy limit, parking information, minimum stay requirements, and other required information and statements. Additionally, a posting of vacation rental information and signs on or in the property must be posted.

City of Bradenton

The City of Bradenton does allow short-term rentals; however, a new ordinance regulates the operation of short-term rentals within the city limits and requires owners to register their properties and meet a number of criteria. To register, an owner must provide a completed application, proof of ownership, designation of a responsible party, a copy of the City of Bradenton’s business tax receipt, a current and active license as a TPLE, a current certificate of registration from the Department of Revenue, an exterior site sketch, an interior building sketch, a blank rental agreement, and any pre-existing rental agreements. The vacation rental must be available for inspection. The minimum posting requires that a notice be posted in a conspicuous location on an interior wall and must include all required information. All vehicles associated with the vacation rental shall be parked within the driveway or parking area located on the premises and in compliance with all City codes. The owner shall provide one off-street parking space for every four (4) persons of occupancy. The maximum occupancy is the lesser of two (2) persons per bedroom, plus two (2) additional persons, or one (1) person per 150 square feet climate-controlled space, or twelve (12) persons.

Manatee County

Manatee County does not have any short-term residential or vacation rental ordinances.

Rental Restrictions in Sarasota County

By: Matthew J. Kelly, Esq., Essenson Law Firm

Vacation rentals are governed differently by Sarasota County and the city of Sarasota. Vacation rentals within the unincorporated portions of Sarasota County are governed by Article 8, Section 124-131 of the Sarasota Uniform Development Code (“UDC”). In the city of Sarasota, vacation rentals located within the Coastal Islands Overlay District (“CIOD”) are governed by Chapter 34.5 of the city of Sarasota city code as of May 4, 2021.

Sarasota County

Under the UDC, Sarasota County maintains a general prohibition against leases of less than thirty days. This applies to single-family and multiple-family properties in unincorporated portions of the county, with the exception of multiple-family properties on the barrier islands, which include Siesta Key, Casey Key, and Manasota Key. This means that an owner cannot legally operate a short-term (less than 30 days) vacation rental in the county, except for one zoned residential, multiple-family on the barrier islands.

City of Sarasota

The city of Sarasota does permit short-term vacation rentals with a minimum lease duration of one week. However, Chapter 34.5 of the city of Sarasota city code adds various new requirements on top of the minimum duration for those vacation rentals within the CIOD, which include St. Armand’s Key, Coon Key, Bird Key, Otter Key, Lido Key, and portions of Siesta Key.

Chapter 34.5 requires a certificate of registration for every vacation rental in the CIOD. An owner is required to apply separately to the city for an initial certificate via the city’s website for each vacation rental operated, which must be received prior to renting. Certificates of registration are non-transferable and non-assignable. This requires a buyer to apply for a new certificate of registration prior to acquiring ownership or no later than fifteen (15) days after acquiring ownership of the vacation rental, even if it was previously registered under the prior owner.

As part of the application, among many other requirements, an owner must identify a “designated responsible party” for the vacation rental, who may be the owner or another person. In addition to responsibility for general supervision, compliance, and maintenance, the designated responsible party must be available twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week in order to address issues that may arise from the operation of the vacation rental. The designated responsible party must be available on-site to address any issues as soon as one (1) hour following notification from an occupant, a city official, a code compliance officer, or law enforcement officer.

Prior to the city issuing a certificate of registration, the vacation rental is subject to inspection to ensure compliance with: (1) minimum safety requirements under section 34.5-12; (2) minimum information requirements under section 34.5-13; and (3) to confirm compliance with Chapter 34.5 generally as well as any other applicable provisions of the Sarasota City Code and Zoning Code.

The minimum safety requirements are set forth in section 34.5-12 and include compliance with the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, operation of smoke and carbon monoxide detection systems, and installation of fire extinguishers.

The minimum informational requirements are set forth in section 34.5-13 and include, among other things, providing: (1) the location of the nearest hospital; (2) the non-emergency police telephone number; (3) the dates and approximate times of trash and recycling pick up; (4) the street address of the vacation rental; (5) the name and phone number of the designated responsible party or parties; and (6) emergency evacuation instructions. There are other informational requirements based upon maximum occupancy and vehicles. All of the minimum information required must be posted in a conspicuous location inside the vacation rental or provided in a “welcome binder” left in a prominent location.


Whether working in Sarasota County or the city of Sarasota, ensure that you are familiar with these general rental restrictions, and where to find them, so that you can better inform your clients about how their dream of operating a vacation rental in Sarasota… may be no vacation.

This article was originally published in the October issue of ELEVATE Magazine.