GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — While Dauphin Island officials consider a ban on short-term rentals on the east end of the island, other Alabama beach communities have already established rules about rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo. Here are the rules about short-term rentals on Alabama’s Gulf Coast:

Gulf Shores, Ala. short-term rental rules

Gulf Shores homeowners can rent their properties, but there are some rules. Owners whose property is in the city’s corporate limits or police jurisdiction must submit a business license application. Owners can apply online through the city’s website. Gulf Shores does require owners pay a rental fee, pay lodging taxes and have the property regularly inspected for safety.

Orange Beach, Ala. short-term rental rules

Most properties along the beach are rentals, said City Administrator Ken Grimes. He explained that beach houses are typically planned unit developments or multifamily properties, which can be rented short term. Further away from Orange Beach’s famous clear waters, in Orange Beach’s neighborhoods, the rules are different.

In 2018, Orange Beach enacted an ordinance restricting short term rentals in RS1-zoned properties, which Grimes described as “traditional neighborhoods.” The ordinance set a moratorium on short-term rentals in those neighborhoods. If you already had a short term rental, you could buy a vacation rental license. But, as Grimes explained, no new licenses are being issued “to protect the traditional neighborhoods.” The licenses the city did issue do not transfer and will phase out over time. Grimes also said many of the newer subdivisions have property owners associations with additional restrictions on renting homes. You can find these ordinances on the Orange Beach website.

Why do local short-term rental laws matter?

6.9 million people visited the Alabama Gulf Coast in 2019, according to the City of Gulf Shores. They spent more than $5 billion and fueled about 54,000 travel-related jobs. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey expected those numbers to be even higher in 2022, calling the Gulf Coast a “money-making machine.”

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