Transient vs Monthly Rentals: What’s the difference??

The number one question we get at Last Key Realty, from both our vacation rental guests and our real estate clients, is what’s the difference between transient and monthly rentals?  We’ve put together this quick informational guide to help you better understand how renting a home in Key West works.

What’s the difference between rental types? Read on to find out!

What is a transient license?

The answer is pretty straightforward – properties with a transient license are authorized by the city to be rented for less than 29 nights; those without this license are restricted to be rented by the month.  That’s it, one piece of paper that makes a big difference.

Why can’t I rent this property for less than 29 nights?

If a property isn’t fortunate enough to have one of these highly coveted transient licenses, then according to strict Key West ordinances, the property legally can’t be rented for less than 29 nights — under any circumstance.  If we were to write a lease for a monthly property for less than 29 nights, that would be illegal and we could lose our license.  We like what we do, and want to keep doing it, so we have to adhere to these ordinances.

And before you ask, there are no exceptions to this rule.  Ever.  If a property doesn’t have a transient license (aka a monthly rental) it legally can’t be rented for less than 29 nights.

We wish we were able to rent out the Polynesian House for less than a month!

Why such a big price difference?

Transient rentals on average generate about 3x more income per month than a monthly rental.  This is due to their higher nightly rates. As a result, a monthly home might actually cost less for a month than a transient home of the same size for just two weeks!

Homeowner Associations (HOAs)

While we’re talking transient rentals, we have to touch on the various HOAs with transient rental licenses that exist around the island.  These HOAs can have their own requirements, and the majority of them do.  Most only allow for weekly rentals, but some have their own special rules altogether – like Truman Annex.

View from the widow’s walk at Noona’s Mansion in Truman Annex

Truman Annex

Let’s talk Truman Annex – the Truman Annex HOA regulations are stricter than most, they require rental properties to be rented for a minimum of 6 nights, have no more than 8 guests occupying a rental (no matter the size of the property) and can only be rented for a maximum of 26 weeks a year.  This is why these rentals are usually more costly, since they can only be legally rented for half the year. Explore our Truman Annex Rentals.

*** Ask us about the monthly rental discount in Truman Annex!  Must be booked direct to receive these significant savings ***

How can I get a Transient License?

Decades ago, the city of Key West issued a limited number of transient licenses. And they haven’t issued anymore since.  And probably won’t issue them ever again. 

These coveted licenses currently sell for $300,000 to $400,000, and that’s if you can find one.  (That’s just the price of the license, no property attached to it!)

Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, knowing how to navigate the unique Key West market is the difference between success and failure.  Having folks you can trust and rely on is vitally important, which is why you have us. 😀

View all of our beautiful Key West Vacation Rentals by Last Key Realty.