Short term vacation rentals


What is a “short term rental” or “vacation rental”?Closeup Of Old Signboard Bed & Breakfast AirBnB VRBO

“Short-term rental” generally means renting a unit, like an apartment or house, for less than 30 days (some cities define it as less than 31 days). The most popular sites for advertising short term rentals are AirBnB and VRBO.

I own property. Can I rent it out on AirBnB?

The legal situation for short term rentals is changing rapidly, and we intend to keep this page as up to date as possible.

Many cities restrict short-term rentals. Of those that allow them, most require you to register your unit and also to collect a “hotel tax” (Airbnb often does this for you). They usually also consider “hosting” a short-term rental as a business so you will likely need to get a “business license” with the city. Here are some specific rules for various cities around the L.A. area (and check out our page for other cities around the country):

  • City of Los AngelesIt’s unclear at the moment, though the city council is working on new rules. It’s probably illegal if your unit is in a “residential” neighborhood, but may be OK in “commercial” neighborhoods. In addition, if your property is rent-controlled, you definitely can’t do it. So if your unit is NOT rent controlled and IS in a commercial area, you are probably fine, but you also need to collect a “hotel tax” from your guests.
  • Santa Monica – you may not rent out a full unit for less than 30 days; you may rent out a spare room, but you must collect “hotel tax” of 14% from guests.
  • West Hollywood – you may not rent out any unit, whether a full unit or just a spare room, for less than 31 days.
  • Beverly Hills – Generally, single family homes must rent for a minimum of 6 months at a time; however, you may have a shorter term rental no more than twice per year, but you must collect a “hotel tax” from guests. For multi-unit buildings, NO short term rentals are allowed; all rentals must be 30 days or more.1See BH Municipal Code (Sections 4-5-102-B;10-3-302;10-3-401;10-3-501; 10-3-601; 10-3-701; 10-3-801; 10-3-901; 10-10-1001; 10-3-1101; 10-3-4302
  • Manhattan Beach – you may not rent out any unit in a “residential” area (“commercial” area is OK) for less than 30 days.
  • Redondo Beach – short term rental are NOT allowed. Like, at all.
  • Hermosa Beach – same as Redondo. No short term rentals.
  • Malibu – generally allowed, but you must register with the city and collect “hotel tax” of 12%
  • Pasadena – law is unclear but apparently not much restrictions.
  • Palm Springs – restricts short term rentals to 32 times per year; must pay permit fee of $900/year; limited to one permit per person
  • Unincorporated Los Angeles County – For single family homes, you can rent to a max of 4 guests at a time; you must register with the county and collect “hotel tax” of 12%. For multi family homes, you should check with the Department of Regional Planning. See more here.
  • Ventura – must register with the city and collect hotel tax of 10%; may be in residential or commercial areas: court recently affirmed legality of short term rentals in residential areas.

Also, if your property is within a Homeowners Association (HOA) or Co-op, you are subject to the HOA or Co-op rules as well, which often restrict short term rentals.

I rent an apartment or house. Can I legally put it on AirBnB?

Probably not, but check your lease. In addition to the above laws and rules, if you are renting a unit, your lease most likely has a restriction on any and all “subletting.” Some leases say you can sublet if you get approval from your landlord (but they almost definitely will not allow you to AirBnB the place). However, if by chance your lease says nothing about subletting or “assignment” of the unit, and if it wouldn’t violate any of the above laws, then you probably do have the legal right to AirBnB it.

If I rent someone’s house for an event I’m having, is there anything in particular I should know?

In the city of Malibu, you must get a Special Events Permit for events held at a residence, where you are renting the place for 30 days or less, and you expect there to be 15 or more people attending.2Malibu Municipal Code 5.34.020(C)


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