Living in a State Park
Visitors to Jekyll Island know its natural beauty, diverse history, and numerous recreational activities. As visitors return again and again to Jekyll, many make the decision to make this island home or to become a homeowner. However, many are surprised to learn that this little barrier island is a state park, which means there are special rules and guidelines for homeownership and property rental for the more than 600 private residences on the island.
Unlike traditional homeownership, all land on Jekyll Island is owned by the State of Georgia. Instead of purchasing a parcel of property and its buildings (fee-simple ownership), the State of Georgia leases the land to owners for a fee, known as leasehold ownership. In this scenario, the homeowner (lessee) pays the lessor (Jekyll Island Authority) rent to lease the land. Under this arrangement, you do not own the land, rather you own the structure, including any improvements, and have the right to use it exclusively and may transfer ownership for the remaining years of the lease. Residential leases are long-term, and current leases expire anywhere from 2049-2088.
As a leasehold property owner, the owner is responsible for the following:
- Property Taxes
- Maintenance Fees (fire fees, utilities, property maintenance, etc.)
- Annual Lease Rent (on top of a mortgage, if financed)
Additionally, you have the option to offer your home for rent on a short-term or long-term basis. However, you must first secure a rental license and adhere to all applicable ordinances found in the Jekyll Island Authority Code. View ordinances »
Residential Land Lease Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. The fee simple title and ownership of real property on Jekyll Island is owned by the State of Georgia and vested in the Jekyll Island- State Park Authority (“JIA”) by virtue of O.C.G.A. § 12-3- 241. As such, all residential property on Jekyll Island is subject to a land lease ownership structure with the JIA by which all land is leased to a homeowner through a standard residential property lease. The standard residential property lease, by operation of law, places the title and ownership of the home and improvements in the leasehold interest, and lessees are prohibited from removing them. Improvements are severed from the land, and you are given title to your home and improvements during the term. Moreover, the lease permits you to remove and/or relocate the improvements if you desire, at your expense, within the last two years of the lease, so long as you restore the property to a vacant lot in accordance with Glynn County permits and ordinances. At the expiration of the lease, title to all improvements remaining on the land vests with the JIA.
Under the terms and conditions of the standard residential lease, annual rent is calculated at fourtenths of one percent (0.4%) of the fair market value of the leased land as determined by the Glynn County Tax Assessor, subject to any discounts provided for in the residential lease.
For example, if the land you lease has a fair market value of $215,000, then your annual rent would be $215,000 x 0.004 = $860.00 before any discounts or adjustments.
Currently, the only discount program available is exclusively for homeowners for whom a Homestead Exemption provided by Glynn County is in actual effect. For lease years 6 through 10 only (calendar years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020), annual rent would be discounted by fifty percent (50%) for a lease year in which a Glynn County Homestead Exemption is in effect.
No. However, all leaseholders who rent their property overnight to others must first obtain a rental license from the JIA and pay percentage rent. The percentage rent is three percent of gross rental revenues and subject to change by ordinance. Owners remit to JIA the percentage rent in the same manner as they currently remit the Georgia Hotel-Motel tax.
If your questions are not answered in these FAQs, or you wish more information, please contact the JIA at 912.635.4106.
Forms: Applications, Reporting, and Permits
- Long-Term Rental Application
- Vacation Rental Application
- Monthly Percentage Rent Report
- Long-Term: Annual or Quarterly Percentage Rent Report
- Form to report Hotel/Motel Tax
This collection is closed to research and requests at this time, due to the digitization project ongoing in archives and records. Please contact JIA at 912.635.4000 should you have any questions on this matter.
Filled out and turned in to the Code Compliance Office at 200 Stable Road, Jekyll Island, GA 31527. Application and documents are reviewed for completeness. If not complete, the applicant is contacted for missing items or to make corrections.
Real Estate Companies
These real estate businesses, each located on Jekyll Island, can assist in property rentals.
The Island’s first real estate company, Jekyll Realty specializes in resort property sales and vacation rental management. The company offers more than 125 furnished rentals to choose from.
Parker-Kaufman, Realtors is a full-service real estate company offering home sales and vacation cottage rentals as well as both long-term and short-term property management.
Professional real estate company offering over a century of experience with Jekyll Island property sales and marketing.
The Cottages Jekyll Island
A new oceanfront residential community featuring 123 townhouse-style cottages, an oceanfront pool, and a clubhouse.