Rental Inspection Schedule and Documents
A long term rental is a building or portion of a building that is rented or leased to tenants for residential purposes on a non-transient basis for thirty (30) consecutive days or more which is owned in whole or in part by a landlord.
To enroll your long-term rental please submit a completed Rental Property Registration Form.
A short-term rental is defined as a residential property that contains a dwelling unit or habitable portion thereof that is offered for hire for transient occupancy for periods of thirty (30) days or less.
Under the provisions of the Ordinance all owners of all Short-Term Rental (STR) units are required to obtain a Short-Term Rental Permit (Permit) and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Certificate to use their property for STR purposes. Short term rentals are automatically enrolled in the Rental program.
Adoption of 2015 International Property Maintenance Code
An important change to the rental program is the City’s adoption of the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). There are a few specifications that differ from the California code (such as swimming pool fence heights and railing heights) that council has amended. These are outlined in “Adopted Changes to the 2015 IPMC.”
How do I find out if a property is a registered rental with the City?
Take a look at our map view here: https://arcg.is/GmDbT Every property that is a registered rental property in the city is outlined in blue.
What are the costs to the property owner?
- The annual registration fee for each applicable property is $50.
- With the initial registration fee payment, property owners may apply for Self-Certification Program. If accepted, the annual self-certification fee is an additional $22 per unit for 20 percent of the units at each property. The annual self-certification fee covers review of the self-inspection form and inspection by the City of 20 percent of the units during the five (5) year period.
- If not accepted in the Self-Certification Program, the annual registration fee would be an additional $22 per unit at each property. This annual fee will cover first inspection of each unit and one re-inspection if a correction notice is issued.
- If further re-inspections are required the fee is $123 per additional inspection.
- Continued failure to correct any noticed violations will be dealt with through administrative civil penalties found under Title 4 of the SCMC.
City Resolution NS-29, 231 requires annual cost recovery increases in January to the next whole dollar along with increases by Consumer Price Index (CPI), which was a 4.4% increase effective January 1, 2019.
What is the Self-Certification Program?For properties that are eligible, the owner/operator will conduct an annual self-inspection of all the residential rental dwelling units, including exterior conditions and site conditions, and certify under penalty of perjury that the conditions at the property achieve the minimum standards listed on the Self-Certification Program Checklist. For qualifying participants, the number of inspections will be limited to twenty (20) percent of the total units or limited to an inspection of one-unit total in residential rental dwelling units consisting of five (5) or less units, including multiple single family dwellings at separate locations, for a period of five (5) years, provided the residential rental dwelling units’ conditions do not deteriorate during that time to the extent that the property would no longer meet the property eligibility standards. To be eligible for the Self-Certification Program a property shall not have existing violations of building, housing and sanitation codes or ordinances, or past violations of building, housing and sanitation codes or ordinances within the last three (3) year.
What is the rental housing inspection certification?
Upon the successful completion of an initial inspection, subsequent inspection or reinspection of the residential rental dwelling unit establishing that the property and its occupancy are in compliance with all applicable building, housing and sanitation code and ordinance requirements, the City will issue to the owner/operator a rental housing inspection certification.
The certificate indicates code/ordinance compliance and specifies the time period (one or five years) during which the certification will remain valid and during which the residential rental dwelling unit will not be scheduled for a subsequent inspection.
The rental housing inspection certification shall not preclude code enforcement or investigation on the property if during the rental housing inspection certification period a code violation on the property is reported to the City, or otherwise observed by the City on the property.
What happens after the inspection?If the inspection reveals there are building, housing or sanitation code or ordinance violations, or permit violations on the property, the owner/operator will be notified listing the specific code violations which prevent the City inspector from issuing a rental housing inspection certification. The owner/operator will be provided a specific time period in which the violations are to be corrected. The City inspectors will be available to answer any questions of the owner/operator to help them successfully complete the repairs. The City inspectors will return on the stated correction date to re-inspect the property to verify compliance. If corrections have not been made, the owner/operator will be charged for the additional City time and expense in handling the violations. Once compliance is achieved, a rental housing inspection certification for the unit(s) is issued. If the inspection reveals no building, housing or sanitation code or ordinance violations, or permit violations, the issuance of a rental housing inspection certification will be made immediately.
Will older rental dwelling units be forced to comply with today’s current codes?Structures and units will be required to be maintained at a level consistent with the codes of the period in which they were constructed. However, construction improvements must coincide with current codes as adopted by the City of Santa Cruz.
What will the inspector be looking for?The inspector will be looking for interior unit conditions as well as exterior conditions of the entire property. The inspector’s focus will be on identifying substandard maintenance conditions that do not meet minimum standards established by local and state laws. The inspector will also identify improper living arrangements, parking and trash issues. The owner/manager or assigned agent must accompany the inspector during the inspection. Tenants are welcome to be present during the inspection. City inspections focus on items contained in the checklist and ensure that the inspections address: (a) unpermitted dwelling units; (b) the renting of spaces not intended for habitation; and (c) substandard, overcrowded, unsanitary and unsafe housing conditions that render a housing unit unfit or unsafe for occupancy.
Will each rental apartment or house be inspected?At the time of registration the owner/operator may apply for the Self-Certification Program. If eligible, the number of inspections will be limited to twenty (20) percent of the total units on a property once for a period of five (5) years. If not eligible for Self-Certification Program, all residential rental dwelling units on a property shall receive an annual inspection.
How do I reschedule my rental inspection?
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least five (5) business days before your scheduled inspection. Be prepared by having the following ready
- Owner ID Number (e.g. OWN13-xxxx)
- Date and time you would like to reschedule
Does a City Rental Inspector have to inspect my rental(s)?You may qualify to self-inspect your rental unit(s); however, at least once every five years a City Rental Inspector will conduct an inspection on your rental(s). If there is an active violation on the rental unit within the last three (3) years, then the property owner will not qualify for self-inspection; rather, a City Rental Inspector will be responsible for inspecting the property yearly.
I just bought a residential property in Santa Cruz and I want to rent it out -now what?
Please complete a Registration Form if you are renting out the unit:
- as a long-term rental,
- to students part of the year and using it as a vacation rental at other times,
- and/or if you are using the property as a second home for your personal use.
If you are renting the property as a short-term rental for part of the year, please contact the Finance Department. To learn more about rental restrictions during shelter-in-place orders, please visit the County of Santa Cruz COVID page and review the latest health order.
Why do we have a Residential Rental Inspection Services?Residential Inspection services provides an avenue to proactively ensure health and safety measures are met. Through effective partnerships with owners, managers, tenants, contractors, and other stakeholders, the program identifies and rehabilitates rental dwelling units that do not meet minimum building and housing code standards, thus making sure all in Santa Cruz have a safe place to call home.