Short-Term (Vacation) Rentals

**May 17 Economic Development Subcommittee Special Meeting**

On May 17, city staff presented an update to the Economic Development Subcommittee at a special meeting regarding the current status of short-term rental permits and the proposed timeline for amendments to the short-term rental ordinance.

What is a Short-Term Rental? A short-term (sometimes called vacation) rental is defined as a residence where the owner rents out a bedroom(s) or the entire property for guests staying 30 days or fewer. Short-term rentals can be hosted or non-hosted.

What is the difference between a hosted and a non-hosted short-term rental? A hosted short-term rental is defined as a short-term rental where the owner lives and sleeps in the dwelling unit, or lives and sleeps in another legal dwelling unit on the same parcel, throughout the short-term rental period. Hosted short-term rentals are allowed only in the owner’s primary residence. Hosted rentals are permitted throughout the City with no distance requirements between them or another short-term rental of any kind.

A non-hosted short-term rental is defined as a short-term rental where the owner does not live and sleep in the dwelling unit during the short-term rental period. Starting Dec. 4, the City will not allow a newly proposed non-hosted short-term rental within 1,000 feet of another non-hosted short-term rental.

Do I need a permit to operate a short-term rental? The City's Short-Term Rentals Ordinance requires all short-term rental operators within City limits to obtain a Short-Term Rental Permit and follow specific operating standards. The Short-Term Rentals Ordinance is not intended to regulate hotels, motels, home exchanges, or other rental arrangements like community care facilities, supportive and transitional housing, or rentals for periods longer than 30 days. 

Click the relevant section below for more information on how to apply for a Short-Term Rental Permit, how to ensure your permitted short-term rental remains in compliance, or how to report a violation of the Short-Term Rentals Ordinance. 

Current Notices Regarding Short-Term Rentals

Advertising Requirements

Advertising may only be conducted for short-term rentals operating under a valid Short-Term Rental Permit, except for operators in good standing as defined in Section 20-48.030(O) who may continue to advertise and operate a short-term rental while awaiting City approvals so long as in compliance with Section 20-48.040(B)(1)(a&b). All advertisements, flyers, internet listings, or other methods of offering the short-term rental shall include the following:

  1. Maximum short-term renters; 
  2. Maximum daytime guests;    
  3. Number of dedicated off-street and on-street parking spaces available for use by short-term renters;  
  4. Notification that quiet hours must be observed between 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.;  
  5. Notification that no outdoor amplified sound is allowed; and  
  6. The Short-Term Rental Permit number for the property except that operators in good standing, pursuant to Section 20-48.060(B)(1)(a&b), shall use the Transient Occupancy Tax account number until the Short-Term Rental Permit is approved.  

Non-Hosted Short-Term Rentals -  Check for Overconcentration Before Applying

Effective Dec. 4, 2021, a Non-Hosted short-term rental may not be proposed within 1,000 feet from the property line of another existing or proposed Non-Hosted short-term rental. Hosted short-term rentals are not subject to an overconcentration requirement.

Use the City of Santa Rosa Permit Search Tool and Non-Hosted Overconcentration Evaluation Instructions to determine if your proposed Non-Hosted short-term rental is at least 1,000 feet from another existing or proposed Non-Hosted short-term rental site prior to applying for a Short-Term Rental Permit for a Non-Hosted use. Permit applications submitted for Non-Hosted short-term rentals in violation of the 1,000 foot separation setback will be denied. 

For Properties Associated with an HOA, Check your HOA Rules and Restrictions Before Applying

It is an applicant’s responsibility to verify whether short-term rental activity is prohibited by their Homeowners Association's (HOA) Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) prior to submitting a Short-Term Rental Permit application.

The City has no obligation or authority to enforce HOA CC&Rs which are governing documents approved by and specific to an HOA. HOA Boards enforce CC&Rs, and the City enforces ordinances adopted by its governing bodies.

The California Civil Code provides owners general right to enforce their HOA’s CC&Rs against neighboring owners and the HOA itself. CC&Rs are enforceable by the owner of any lot in the development (Civil Code section 1354(a)); a homeowner is authorized to bring an enforcement action against another homeowner or the HOA itself to enforce CC&Rs (Civil Code section 5975).

Amendments to the Short-Term Rental Ordinance in Progress

The City’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance addresses the most pressing public safety and neighborhood compatibility concerns; however, amendments to the short-term rentals ordinance will be drafted and brought before the Santa Rosa Planning Commission and City Council at future dates to be determined.

City staff continues to invite public input during this process and will hold additional public engagement opportunities to help inform potential amendments to the short-term rentals ordinance.


Check out our FAQ page about short term rentals. For all other questions, email

Public Engagement on Short-Term Rentals

View Public Input Compilation from August 2021 Short-Term Rental Survey

  • Community input was collected through an August 2021 survey to help inform the Short-Term Rental Ordinance. The data and response compilation may be viewed and downloaded here.

Watch Past Public Meetings on Short-Term Rentals and the Short-Term Rentals Ordinance