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State Regulation

Are you curious about the dynamic world of short-term rentals (STR) in the charming state of Alabama? Get ready to dive into an exciting exploration of the vacation rental landscape in the Heart of Dixie!

This guide will demystify the world of short-term rentals, covering everything from their legal aspects to the finer details that can boost your hosting experience in Alabama. We'll tackle essential questions every host must consider before stepping into the business in this state.

Is there a statewide definition of STR?

In Alabama, there is no specific legal definition for short-term rentals or vacation rentals at the state level. However, for the purpose of taxation, the state considers rentals offered for a duration of less than 180 consecutive days to transient guests as short-term rentals. This means any furnished accommodation in Alabama rented out for a period shorter than 180 days falls into the short-term rental category. Such rentals can include a wide range of property types, including entire homes, apartments, private rooms, guest suites, cabins, and beach houses.

Local jurisdictions within Alabama may have their own specific definitions for short-term rentals, which can be shorter than the state's 180-day guideline. For instance, the city of Gulf Shores defines short-term rentals as those less than 14 days. Therefore, hosts should be mindful of both the state-level guidelines and the more specific regulations set by local authorities in their respective areas.

statewide registration requirement
Statewide Registration Requirement

In Alabama, the regulation of short-term rentals (STRs) is generally addressed at the city and county level, rather than through a unified statewide registration requirement. This means that the rules and requirements can vary significantly depending on the specific location of the rental property.

For instance, some cities in Alabama have specific regulations and tax requirements for STRs. In Auburn, for example, short-term rental operators must obtain a zoning certificate, and rentals are considered as short-term if they are for stays of 30 days or less. Birmingham has implemented tax-based regulations, charging hosts a certain percentage and allowing them to operate as long as they meet minimum standards. In Gulf Shores, the focus is on protecting existing beach rentals and the needs of permanent residents, with regulations that are relatively light as long as taxes are paid. Orange Beach, on the other hand, has taken a stricter approach, banning all short-term rentals in single-family homes zoned for residential use and imposing a minimum stay of 14 days for licensed vacation rentals.

Regarding tax obligations, short-term rentals in Alabama are subject to state lodging taxes if they are offered for less than 180 consecutive days. Hosts are required to register with the Alabama Department of Revenue to collect and remit these taxes. This involves collecting a statewide sales tax, which is a percentage of the total rental rate charged to guests, as well as any applicable local lodging taxes. The rates for these taxes can vary depending on the county and city. It's important for hosts to be aware of these obligations to avoid fines and penalties for non-compliance.

What is the length of stay of STR in the state?

In Alabama, short-term rentals are generally considered to be any furnished rental properties offered for periods of less than 180 consecutive days. This classification is primarily used for tax purposes. It's important to note that while the state of Alabama does not have an official definition of short-term rentals in its laws, the 180-day threshold is widely used to distinguish between short-term and long-term rentals.

Statewide Tax Requirement

In Alabama, the state imposes a tax on short-term rentals for leasing tangible personal property. The tax applies to the gross receipts from these rentals. Localities in Alabama may also levy their own rental taxes, with varying rates. The frequency of tax filing can be monthly, quarterly, biannually, or annually, depending on the previous year's tax liability. Additionally, those who facilitate third-party rental transactions have specific requirements for tax collection, remittance, or reporting.

Access the latest compliance requirement for your local jurisdictions below


Lodge compliance is not a licensed tax or financial advisor. Therefore nothing in the above article should be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice. Contact your local tax office for information regarding your personal circumstance.

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