Vacation Rental Ordinances in Panama City Beach

Craig Duran


I have been getting a lot of questions about the City of Panama City Beach’s new vacation rental ordinances and for good reason. There are some substantial changes to owning a short-term rental in Panama City Beach.
As I have been answering questions, I have quickly realized that many people do not know that the peninsula of “Panama City Beach” is actually governed in some places by the city of Panama City Beach and by Bay County in others. 
To see where your property is located, click on the map to see the city limits of the City of Panama City Beach.
This is important to understand since each municipality has its own ordinance that governs vacation rentals/STR’s. Let’s look at each one:
  • Effective Date: In effect from February 1, 2024.
  • Occupancy Limits:
    • Major Change: One person per 150 sq. ft. of habitable space.
    • Variations: Different limits for various rental types and potential adjustments.
  • Life Safety Inspections: Mandatory for fire safety compliance.
  • Penalty Structure: Includes fines and possible revocation of rental certificates.
  • Vacation Rental Certificate: Required for all rentals, with specific criteria.
  • Emergency Contact Signage: Must display emergency info and certificate number.
  • Pool Inspection: Necessary if the property has a pool.
  • DBPR License: Proof of license required.
  • Tourist Development Council Registration: Must be registered.
  • Business Tax Receipt: A valid PCB receipt is essential.
You can find more helpful information here.
  • Short-Term Vacation Rental Definition: Applies to single-family, two-family, three-family, or four-family houses, recreational vehicles, or mobile homes.
  • Certificate Requirement: Mandatory for all short-term vacation rentals.
  • Annual Renewal: Certificates must be renewed yearly.
  • Application Requirements:
  • Compliance affidavit.
  • Proof of licensing and registration.
  • Pool licensing and inspection (if applicable).
  • Annual certificate fee.
  • Operating Standards: Rentals must meet specific operational criteria.
  • Inspections: Conducted at the discretion of Bay County Fire Services.
  • Re-inspections: Required for any violations.
  • Responsible Party Designation: Must be available 24/7 to handle rental issues.
  • Rental Requirements:
  • Emergency and safety information postings.
  • Maximum occupancy information.
  • Fire safety compliance.
  • Certificate Number Display: Required on all rental advertisements.
  • Enforcement and Penalties: Progressive enforcement approach focusing on compliance.
These are important changes to vacation rental/STR ownership in our area. I am going to update this page regularly with links to registration forms and other fact sheets as they become available. 
In the meantime, if you have any questions on how this pertains to your property, which municipality governs your rental, or how this all affects market values, give me a call or shoot me a text: 850-290-0417.


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