San Diego, California
When deciding whether to become an Airbnb Host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace, we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand the laws and regulations in San Diego. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the Office of the City Treasurer, Development Services Department, the Planning Department, or other city agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or a tax professional.
Registration is now required to Host short-term rentals in San Diego. Apply now to continue hosting.
Under the newly enacted law, anyone in the City of San Diego listing a residential property for short-term rent (less than 30 days at a time) on a hosting platform like Airbnb must register for a license under San Diego’s Short-Term Residential Occupancy (STRO) Program. Beginning in October 2022, Hosts should apply for a license and register their short-term rentals to continue hosting.
Long-term stays (over 30 days), hotels, and motels are exempt from registering as short-term rentals. If your listing is exempt from short-term rental licensing requirements, you do not need to obtain a short-term rental license.
Note: You will not be able to apply for a license without an Active Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Certificate and a Rental Unit Business Tax (RUBT) Account Number.
Please review the STRO application requirements carefully before applying. Check the complete list of information/documents that you will need to prepare before applying.
Applying for a license:
Apply for a license based on the license tier that best fits your hosting ability. The City of San Diego has provided four license options for Hosts to apply for, with each tier having different eligibility requirements. Under the new law, a Host may only hold one short-term rental license for one dwelling unit at a time. Hence, please review the eligibility requirements carefully and apply for the license that best fits your hosting ability. The City of San Diego has also provided a guide that can assist you to determine the best license tier for you.
- Tier One: Allows Hosts to rent their listing for a maximum of 20 calendar days (19 nights) or less per calendar year for short-term rental use. There is no primary residency requirement for this license. Hosts must submit their application for a Tier One license before May 1, 2023.
- Tier Two: Allows Hosts to rent their listing for more than 20 calendar days (19 nights) per year so long as the owner or the permanent resident resides onsite. The owner or the permanent resident may be absent from the residence and rent out their entire home for up to 90 days per calendar year. Tier Two licenses are available to Hosts who can establish that the property is used as their primary residence by demonstrating that the Host occupies the property at least 275 days per year. Hosts must submit their application for a Tier Two license before May 1, 2023.
- Tier Three: Allows Hosts to rent their listing for more than 20 calendar days (19 nights) with a two-night minimum stay per booking as long as the listing is not located within the Mission Beach Community Planning Area. Prior to applying, please confirm if your listing is within this area by using the City of San Diego Council District Map. Tier Three licenses do not have a primary residency requirement but are only offered by the City of San Diego on a limited basis via a lottery system conducted by the City. The number of licenses issued will be capped at 1% of San Diego's total housing units outside the Mission Beach Community Planning Area.
- Tier Four: Allows Hosts to rent their listing for more than 20 calendar days (19 nights) with a two-night minimum stay per booking as long as the listing is within the Mission Beach Community Planning Area. Prior to applying, please confirm with the City of San Diego if your listing is within this area by using the City of San Diego Council District Map. Tier Four licenses do not have a primary residency requirement, but are only offered by the City of San Diego on a limited basis via a lottery system conducted by the City. The number of licenses issued will be capped at 30% of housing units in the Mission Beach Community Planning Area.
- Payment: The non-refundable application fee is $25 for Tier One and Tier Two licenses and $70 for Tier Three and Tier Four licenses. Upon approval of your application, the license fee is $100 for Tier One licenses, $225 for Tier Two licenses, and $1,000 for Tier Three and Four licenses. Licenses expire two years from the date of issuance and may be renewed with the City.
- Land Development and Planned Districts Codes: The Land Development and Planned Districts Codes govern most land used in San Diego. The Land Development Code is located in Chapters 11 to 14 of the San Diego Municipal Code. Chapter 15 is the Planned Districts Code. The City Attorney can also issue written opinions regarding land use rules. You should consult these to see if your listing is consistent with any zoning requirements or use definitions. Important terms include "bed and breakfast establishments," "boarder and lodger accommodations," "commercial services," "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "guest quarters," "guest room," "hotel," and "visitor accommodations."
- Building and Housing Standards: San Diego has rules and regulations specifying minimum construction, design, and maintenance standards for buildings, including regulations about habitability, health, and safety. Certain regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing. Refer to Chapter 9 and Chapter 14 of the Municipal Code for more information.
- Business Tax and Zoning Use Certificates: San Diego requires all business operators to register and obtain a Business Tax Certificate. Learn more about applying for a Business Tax Certificate.
- Rental Unit Business Tax: San Diego also taxes owners and operators of many rentals. Owner-occupied rentals are excluded from this tax. Learn more about Business Tax/Rental Unit Business Tax.
- Transient Occupancy Tax and Tourism Marketing District Assessment: San Diego imposes the San Diego Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and the San Diego Tourism Marketing District Assessment (TMD) on all properties rented to such visitors. Airbnb collects and remits the TOT and TMD in San Diego. Learn more about occupancy tax collection and remittance by Airbnb.
- Other Rules: It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
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