| St. Augustine Record
St. Augustine commissioners recently adopted fees for vacation rentals, and the city will send letters to property owners about how to register vacation rentals.
The fee is a base rate of $294.48 per rental unit plus a fee of $73.81 per bedroom rented. The operator will have to pay a fee each year based on that rate structure to renew the vacation rental’s registration.
There is a $100 fee for people who are late renewing their annual vacation rental registration. If a rental has to be re-inspected for code compliance or fire safety because of a failed inspection, the re-inspection rate is $50. A successful inspection is required to be registered with the city.
The city plans to make the online registration system available this week, said David Birchim, city Planning and Building Department director. The city will send out letters to property owners with instructions on how to register.
The city has about 600 vacation rentals, according to a memo from Birchim to the Commission. The city based its fees on the number of rentals and the cost to administer its new vacation rental regulations. The city plans to re-evaluate the fees annually.
The city adopted vacation rental regulations in January. The regulations include requirements for registration, inspection, parking, response times for complaints, occupancy limits and safety equipment, among other things.
The city had proposed a flat fee of $500 per year per vacation rental, but commissioners decided to go with a tiered approach.
Commissioner Roxanne Horvath supported giving vacation rental owners a temporary break on the new fees because of COVID-19 hardships. Mayor Tracy Upchurch had already supported giving residents more time before implementing the new vacation rental system because of COVID-19. But he didn’t get backing from the Commission.
Ultimately the Commission voted unanimously to implement the fees.