Southwest Orlando is located close to attractions such as Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, so visitors often search for a vacation home here. Central Florida can be a wonderful place to buy a vacation home but local laws prohibit rentals of less than 6 months. The exceptions are some designated areas closer to the attractions that allow short term rentals in Orange and Osceola County. There’s plenty of options out there and selecting the development that’s best suited can be a daunting task.
Communities with on site and off site management are available. The Blue Rose, Village of Image, Reunion Resort, Blue Heron, and Worldquest are fine choices with on site managment. Some great communities that require off site management include: Emerald Island, Windsor Palms, and Tierra del Sol.
A key issue when purchasing a vacation home is selecting a good property manager. Unlike other property managers in the state of Florida, property managers of short term rental communities fall under the jurisdiction of the Division of Hotels and not under the Division of Real Estate. This means they have very little accountability concerning areas of real estate such as escrow accounts and do not need a real estate license. Short term rental property managers just need to ensure the property has the proper safety equipment and locks.
While there are many good short term rental property agencies out there, a number of local short term rental agencies have gone out of business recently still owing their customers tons of money. Typically, owners pay the management agency a float which is usually equal to around 4 months of management fees for payment of bills, miscellaneous expenses, and repairs. Many times there’s also a contingency fund for redecoration, replacements, and repairs. The state of Florida requires short term rental agencies to keep these large sums of money in an escrow account but some of them do not because the jurisdiction falls under the Division of Hotels and it’s easy to get away with. The Division of Real Estate imposes stiff penalties for licensees violating escrow laws but the Division of Hotels do not have such laws in place so it’s nearly impossible to recover lost money from a short term property manager. Definitely do some homework before signing an agreement with a short term rental agency.