Comprehensive Guide to Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations

Comprehensive Guide to Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations


Key Colony Beach, located in the heart of the Florida Keys, is a picturesque destination known for its serene beaches, vibrant marine life, and charming local culture. For many, it serves as a perfect getaway, offering a variety of vacation rentals ranging from quaint cottages to luxurious waterfront homes. However, as with any popular tourist destination, Key Colony Beach has specific regulations governing vacation rentals to ensure the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of both visitors and residents. This guide provides an in-depth look into Key Colony Beach vacation rental regulations, helping property owners navigate the local laws effectively.

Key Colony Beach Geographical Information

Location and Climate

Key Colony Beach is a charming city nestled in the heart of the Florida Keys, specifically in Monroe County. This idyllic location is part of the Middle Keys, situated on a small island that is part of the larger chain of islands stretching from Key Largo to Key West. Known for its picturesque waterfronts and serene canals, Key Colony Beach offers a unique blend of natural beauty and tranquil living.


  • Coordinates: Key Colony Beach is geographically positioned at approximately 24.7204° N latitude and 81.0256° W longitude.
  • Island Setting: The city is set on a man-made island connected by a causeway to Marathon, one of the larger and more developed keys in the region.
  • Proximity to Major Destinations: It is located about 50 miles east of Key West and approximately 100 miles southwest of Miami, making it easily accessible from these major urban centers.


  • Tropical Climate: Key Colony Beach boasts a tropical climate, typical of the Florida Keys, characterized by warm temperatures year-round. This climate is classified as a tropical savanna (Aw) under the Köppen climate classification.
  • Temperature Range: Average temperatures range from the mid-70s°F (24°C) in the winter to the mid-80s°F (29°C) in the summer, with highs often reaching into the 90s°F (32-35°C) during peak summer months.
  • Seasonal Variations:
    • Dry Season (November to April): This period is considered the best time to visit, with less rainfall, lower humidity, and comfortable temperatures. It’s ideal for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and beachgoing.
    • Wet Season (May to October): The wet season brings higher humidity and more frequent afternoon thunderstorms, though it still offers warm and inviting weather for most vacationers.
  • Hurricane Season: Spanning from June to November, the Keys can be susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms. It’s important for visitors and property owners to stay informed and prepared during this time.

Accessibility and Transport

Key Colony Beach is easily accessible and well-connected, making it a convenient destination for both tourists and residents. Here’s how you can get around:

Access Routes:

  • Overseas Highway (U.S. Route 1): This iconic highway is the main arterial route through the Florida Keys, connecting Key Colony Beach to the rest of the island chain and mainland Florida. The highway offers scenic drives with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
  • Nearest Airports:
    • Marathon International Airport: Located just a few miles from Key Colony Beach, this small airport offers flights to and from other Florida destinations.
    • Key West International Airport: About 50 miles away, it provides more extensive domestic flight options.
    • Miami International Airport: Approximately 100 miles north, this major hub offers numerous domestic and international flights, making it a primary gateway for international visitors.

Local Transportation:

  • Rental Cars: Ideal for those planning to explore beyond Key Colony Beach, rental cars offer flexibility and convenience for longer stays.
  • Bicycles: With its flat terrain and scenic routes, biking is a popular way to get around. Many vacation rentals offer bicycles, and there are local rental shops available.
  • Golf Carts: A preferred mode of transport within Key Colony Beach, golf carts provide a fun and easy way to navigate the city. They are particularly popular for their convenience and ease of parking.
  • Public Transportation: The Monroe County Public Transit system provides bus services connecting Key Colony Beach to other parts of the Keys, including Key West and Marathon.

Water Access:

  • Boating: Given its coastal location, Key Colony Beach is a haven for boaters. Many properties feature private docks, and public boat ramps are available. The city’s waterways offer direct access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, making it perfect for fishing, sailing, and water sports.
  • Water Taxis and Charters: Various services offer water taxi rides and chartered boat trips for exploring the Keys’ waters and islands.

Key Colony Beach’s blend of accessibility, scenic beauty, and tropical climate makes it a coveted destination for vacationers and an excellent location for those looking to operate vacation rentals. Whether arriving by road, air, or sea, visitors are greeted with the unique allure of this island paradise.

Comprehensive Guide to Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations

Key Colony Beach Airbnb Market Overview

Key Colony Beach boasts a thriving vacation rental market, with data from AirDNA providing valuable insights into the performance and potential of short-term rentals in the area. Here’s what hosts need to know:

  1. Average Daily Rate (ADR):
    • $436.30: This is the average amount guests are willing to pay per night for a stay at Key Colony Beach. For hosts, this rate reflects the premium pricing you can command in this desirable location.
  2. Maximum Daily Rate:
    • $505 in March: The highest daily rate is observed in March, coinciding with the peak tourist season. Hosts should adjust their pricing strategies to take advantage of this high-demand period.
  3. Occupancy Rate:
    • 69% Annual Average: The average occupancy rate indicates that rentals are booked for about two-thirds of the year. This high occupancy rate underscores the steady demand for vacation rentals.
    • 90% in March: The occupancy rate peaks in March, reaching 90%. Hosts should prepare for full bookings and potentially increase rates during this month to optimize income.
  4. Revenue Metrics:
    • Average Annual Revenue: $84,600: On average, hosts can expect to generate substantial annual income from their properties, making it a profitable venture.
    • RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room): $297: This metric helps hosts understand the revenue they can generate per room, factoring in occupancy rates.
    • Weekend RevPAR: $425: Revenue is significantly higher on weekends, indicating strong demand for short stays. Hosts can optimize their earnings by adjusting weekend rates accordingly.
    • Monthly Revenue Peaks: $9,100 in March and July: March and July are the months with the highest potential earnings, driven by seasonal travel trends. Hosts should strategize to maximize bookings and revenue during these periods.
  5. Market Score:
    • 86: A high market score of 86 highlights the strong potential for Airbnb rentals in Key Colony Beach. This score considers factors such as investability, rental demand, revenue growth, seasonality, and regulations, making it an attractive market for hosts.

Property and Population Insights

  • Active Rentals: 772: With 772 active vacation rentals, the market is competitive but also vibrant. Hosts need to differentiate their properties through superior amenities and excellent guest experiences.
  • Average Home Value: $947,644: The high property values in Key Colony Beach reflect its desirability and the significant investment required. However, these values also indicate a robust return potential for rental properties.
  • Population: 754: The small local population means that the influx of tourists plays a crucial role in the local economy, creating ample opportunities for vacation rental hosts.

Maximizing Revenue and Occupancy

  1. Seasonal Pricing Strategies:
    • Adjust rates to reflect the high demand during peak months like March and July. Leveraging higher rates during these periods can significantly boost annual revenue.
  2. Weekend Optimization:
    • Given the higher RevPAR on weekends, consider implementing dynamic pricing to capitalize on increased demand for short stays and weekend getaways.
  3. Marketing and Differentiation:
    • With numerous active rentals, standing out is essential. Highlight unique features of your property, offer exceptional customer service, and utilize professional photography to attract guests.
  4. Long-Term Considerations:
    • Investing in property maintenance and upgrades can enhance your rental’s appeal and justify higher rates. Additionally, staying compliant with local regulations will ensure the longevity of your rental business.
Comprehensive Guide to Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations

Understanding Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations

Essential Licenses and Registrations

Florida Hotel/Motel License

Before you can rent out your property in Key Colony Beach, you must secure a Florida Hotel/Motel License. This license, issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), certifies that your property meets the state’s hospitality standards.

  • How to Apply:
    • Phone: Call the DBPR at (850) 487-1395 and leave a message for an inspector.
    • Email: Reach out via email at [email protected].
    • Online: Visit DBPR’s website for more information and to start the application process.

Florida Department of Revenue Sales Tax Registration

As a vacation rental operator, you must collect and remit sales tax to the Florida Department of Revenue. This requirement applies to all rental income transactions.

  • How to Register:
    • In Person/Mail: Visit the Miami Service Center at 8175 NW 12th Street, Suite 119, Miami, FL 33126-1828.
    • Phone: Call (305) 470-5001 for more information.
    • Online: Complete the registration process at

Monroe County Business Tax

Each vacation rental in Key Colony Beach must also adhere to Monroe County’s business tax requirements. This tax is paid annually and is essential for legal operation within the county.

  • How to Apply:
    • Mail: Send inquiries to Monroe County Office of the Tax Collector, PO Box 1129, Key West, FL 33041-1129.
    • In Person: Visit 3101 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050.
    • Phone: Contact the office at (305) 295-5060 or (305) 289-6034.
    • Online: Visit Monroe County Tax Collector for more details.

 Monroe County Tourist Development Tax

In addition to the business tax, vacation rental property managers must also pay the Tourist Development Tax. This tax supports the local tourism infrastructure and must be filed monthly, regardless of whether rentals have occurred.

  • How to Pay:
    • Mail: Address payments to Monroe County Office of the Tax Collector, PO Box 1129, Key West, FL 33041-1129.
    • In Person: Go to 3101 Overseas Highway, Marathon, FL 33050.
    • Phone: Contact (305) 295-5058 or (305) 289-6034.
    • Online: Use the Tourist Express portal to file and pay taxes.

Compliance and Safety Inspections

Annual Inspections

To ensure the safety and quality of vacation rentals, Key Colony Beach mandates annual inspections conducted by the Building Department. These inspections verify compliance with local safety standards and are crucial for maintaining a valid rental license.

  • Inspection Scheduling: You will be notified of your inspection date and time by zone.
  • Attendance: A Property Manager or Local Contact must be present during the inspection. The property does not need to be vacant or spotless.
  • Re-Inspection Fee: If a property fails the initial inspection, a $300 fee will be required for re-inspection.

Payment of Fines and Fees

Before issuing or renewing a vacation rental license, all outstanding wastewater bills and Code Violation fines must be settled. Additionally, any existing violations must be resolved and closed.

Comprehensive Guide to Key Colony Beach Vacation Rental Regulations

Safety and Operational Requirements

Vacation Rental Safety Inspection Requirements

  • Smoke Detectors: Hard-wired smoke detectors with battery backup must be installed in each bedroom, outside bedrooms, and in each sleeping area. Existing properties may continueto useg battery-powered detectors if they are regularly tested and replaced annually.
  • Emergency Lighting: Hard-wired battery backup lighting is required to illuminate the primary exit and egress during power interruptions.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguishers with a minimum rating of 3-A; 40-B; C must be placed on the normal path to an exit and certified.
  • GFCI Outlets: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets or breakers must be installed in all wet and potentially wet areas, including kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Floor Diagrams: A diagram showing the floor plan, primary and secondary exits, and fire extinguisher locations must be conspicuously posted.
  • House Numbers: The property’s street address must be displayed prominently on the refrigerator in letters at least 1.5 inches tall. If the property is on a canal, house numbers visible from the canal must be at least 4 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide.
  • Wiring and Panels: All wiring must be protected, and electrical panels must be clearly labeled with a minimum clearance of 30” wide x 36” deep in front.
  • Swimming Pools and Spas: Fencing, gates, and alarms must comply with current codes, with audible alarms on exit doors and low windows. Hot tubs or spas without fencing must have a locking cover.
  • Other Safety Measures: Hearing-impaired smoke detectors, secondary non-keyed locking devices on entry doors, and sewer compliance inspections are also required.

Occupancy Limits and Noise Control

  • Occupancy: The maximum allowed occupancy is two persons per bedroom, plus two additional persons in the living room, with a total not exceeding ten guests, subject to square footage limits.
  • Noise: Excessive or disturbing noises are prohibited at all times. This includes fireworks and activities that may disturb neighbors.

Waste Management

Proper waste disposal is essential to maintaining the beauty and cleanliness of Key Colony Beach. The city enforces strict rules on trash, recycling, and yard waste collection.

  • Trash Collection: Twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Cans should be placed curbside after noon the day before and removed within 24 hours of pickup.
  • Recycling: Weekly on Tuesdays. Recycling bins should be set out after noon on Mondays.
  • Yard Waste: Collected on Wednesdays. Yard waste should be placed curbside on Tuesday.

Parking and Vehicle Regulations

To ensure safety and order, Key Colony Beach has specific regulations for parking and vehicle storage.

  • Recreational Vehicles and Boats: Only one RV, boat, or trailer is permitted per dwelling unit within the property boundaries. Temporary parking is available off 8th Street for a fee.
  • Street Parking: Parking in the city right-of-way is limited to property owners, their guests, and renters. Violating no-parking zones or posted signs can result in fines.

Compliance and Penalties

Staying compliant with local regulations is crucial for maintaining a valid vacation rental license. Non-compliance can lead to significant fines and penalties, including:

  • Daily Fines: For violations such as excessive noise, exceeding occupancy limits, or improper waste disposal.
  • License Suspension: Continued non-compliance may result in the suspension or revocation of your vacation rental license.
  • Re-Inspection Fees: A $300 fee is required for properties that fail safety inspections and need re-inspection.

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Owning and managing a vacation rental in Key Colony Beach comes with its own set of responsibilities. Understanding and adhering to the Key Colony Beach vacation rental regulations ensures not only legal compliance but also contributes to maintaining the quality and charm of this beautiful destination. By following these guidelines, property owners and managers can offer a safe, enjoyable experience for guests while upholding the community’s standards.

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