City of Santa Cruz Short-Term Rental Permit Application Available

The City’s Residential Short-Term Rental Ordinance No. 2017-18 is now in effect.  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.  A total of 450 permits are available. 

Applications from existing, legally-operating STR owners will receive priority processing.  Applications from existing, legally-operating STR owners MUST be received by July 10, 2018 in order to retain priority processing status.  Applications received after that date will be placed in the queue for standard processing in the order they are received.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR OWNERS OF EXISTING NON-HOSTED STRs AND OWNERS OF EXISTING ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT (ADU) STRs  WITH VALID TOT REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES

While the City will not be issuing any new Non-Hosted STR permits or ADU STR permits, there are existing, legally-operating STRs in these categories that can be grandfathered under the Ordinance. 

If you are the owner of a Non-Hosted STR or ADU STR who wishes to remain eligible as a “grandfathered” property, you MUST submit a complete application for an STR Permit no later than July 10, 2018 

Applications received after this date will not be considered.


How Do I Apply?

Online applications are quick and easy, and applications made through the City’s online system are encouraged.  To start your online application, please visit: https://tot.cityofsantacruz.com/primeweb.  Click on “Apply for TOT Certification” to create an account.  Applicants will be required to pay a one-time, non-refundable Permit fee of $262 at the time of application submittal, and existing STR operators will be issued a new TOT Certificate number as a part of this process.

For those applicants unable to use our online application, paper applications will also be accepted using a printable PDF version of the application. Paper applications will also be available at the Planning Department Public Counter at City Hall.

Applicants who wish to submit a complete paper application may apply by mail or do so in person at City Hall during regular business hours: 

Mailing Address & Public Counter Location

Planning and Community Development
809 Center Street, Room 206
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Hours

Monday – Thursday
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Required Documents

Applicants will need to supply the following materials as a part of their application.  Please note that while these items do not need to be drawn by a professional, they must be drawn to scale:

  1. Plot Plan: Also known as a site plan, this attachment must show the location of all existing buildings on the property, and the location and dimensions of any on-site parking.
  2. Floor Plan: This attachment must show all rooms within the home, labeled by room type.
  3. STR Details: This attachment must provide a description of each room to be used for short-term rental purposes (including bathrooms, kitchen, living spaces, etc.)
  4. Photograph:  This attachment must be a clear, color photograph of the outside of the unit.  Photo must include visible building address number.
  5. Proof of Principal Residency: Owners of Hosted STR’s must provide at least two forms of documented evidence that the unit is the owner’s principal residence, such as state and federal tax returns, bank account, car registration, driver’s license, voter registration, utility bill, and/or evidence of Santa Cruz County Assessor’s Homeowners Exemption.

In advance of permit issuance, applicants will also be required to enroll in the City’s Rental Inspection Service (RIS).  The current RIS fee is $68, and is paid annually by the applicant.  More information on the RIS program may be found on the Residential Rental Services page

Please direct questions related to the Residential Short-Term Rental Ordinance, Permit and/or proposed Fee to:

StaffTitleDepartmentsPhoneEmail
Khoury, AlexAssistant DirectorPlanning and Community Development(831) 420-5116

What is the Short Term Rental Ordinance?

The Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Ordinance) provides a set of standards governing the renting or leasing of residential property on a short-term basis.  The intent of the Ordinance is to allow short-term rental of residential properties within the City while protecting the City’s long-term housing stock.  The Ordinance also ensures that Short-Term Rentals (STRs) do not become a nuisance to the community, or threaten the public’s health, safety or welfare.  The Ordinance requires the issuance of a Residential Short-Term Rental Permit (Permit) before a homeowner may operate an STR.

Am I Eligible to Apply for an STR Permit?

It depends on what type of STR you’re proposing: HOSTED or NON-HOSTED.  The Ordinance distinguishes between HOSTED and NON-HOSTED STRs, as follows:

HOSTED STRs

HOSTED is defined as an STR where the owner resides in the home for more than six months in the year, although the owner does not need to be present during the STR guests’ stay.  For duplex and multi-family properties, the ordinance also allows an owner to utilize one unit on site for STR purposes as long as the owner resides at another unit on the property for more than six months per year.  

The City will be issuing HOSTED STR permits, and applications from existing, legally operating HOSTED STR owners will be given priority review through July 10, 2018.  Applications for new HOSTED STR permits will be processed thereafter, on a first-come/first-served basis.

NON-HOSTED STRs

NON-HOSTED is defined as an STR where the owner resides in the home for less than six months during the year.

The City will not be issuing any new NON-HOSTED STR permits.  However, there are several existing, legally-operating NON-HOSTED STRs that will be allowed to continue under the new ordinance should they apply for a permit in a timely manner.

Applicants of existing, legally-operating, NON-HOSTED STRs who wish to remain eligible as a “grandfathered” property MUST apply for an STR permit under the new ordinance no later than July 10, 2018.  Applications received after this date will not be considered.

What about Properties with Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)?

The STR ordinance does not allow STRs in ADUs OR on properties that have an ADU, and no new ADU STR permits will be issued.  However, the City does have several existing, legally-operating ADU STRs that will be allowed to continue under the new ordinance if they meet specific requirements and apply in a timely manner.

Applicants of existing, legally-operating, ADU STRs who wish to remain eligible as a “grandfathered” property MUST apply for an STR permit under the new ordinance no later than July 10, 2018.   Applications received after this date will not be considered

What is the Application Timeline?

Applications will be processed in the following phases:

Phase I: May 29, 2018-through July 10, 2018

Priority Processing of Applications for EXISTING, LEGALLY-OPERATING, HOSTED, NON-HOSTED and ADU STRs

As there are a limited number of permits available (450), applications from existing, legally-operating STR owners will receive priority processing.  Applications MUST be received by July 10, 2018 in order to retain priority processing status.  Applications received after that date will be placed in the queue for standard processing in the order they are received.

Additionally, applicants of existing, legally-operating, NON-HOSTED and ADU STRs who wish to remain eligible as a “grandfathered” property MUST apply for an STR permit no later than July 10, 2018.  Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Phase II: July 11, 2018-Onward

Standard Processing of Applications for NEW HOSTED Short-Term Rentals and EXISTING, LEGALLY-OPERATING HOSTED STRs that DID NOT apply in Phase I

Beginning on July 11th, 2018 standard processing will begin for NEW STR applications and existing, legally-operating, HOSTED STR applications that did not meet the July 10th deadline for priority processing.  Should all Phase I applications be received and processed before July 10th, processing of standard applications will begin immediately thereafter.

Applications will be processed in the order they are received until the total number of available permits have been issued.

Questions?

For questions related to the Short-Term Rental Permit, please contact: 

StaffTitleDepartmentsPhoneEmail
Khoury, AlexAssistant DirectorPlanning and Community Development(831) 420-5116

For Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Questions:

For questions related to TOT, please visit the City's TOT webpage, or contact the Revenue Division of the Finance Department: (831)420-5070.

 

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