On December 21, 2020, the Huntington Beach City Council amended its Municipal Code by introducing Short Term Rentals (STR). The City defines short term rentals as residential units rented for thirty or fewer consecutive nights. The following is a complete guideline for Huntington Beach’s short term rental regulations so that anyone can be a responsible host when using platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and other similar services. This rundown should give you a good start in understanding your local laws.
The City of Huntington Beach consists of two zones. Zone 1, which includes all properties within the City, excluding Sunset Beach. And Zone 2 consists of properties within Sunset Beach.
Hosted or owner-occupied STRs are allowed in the City (Zone 1) and Sunset Beach (Zone 2).
Un-hosted or non-owner-occupied STRs are allowed in Zone 2, Sunset Beach only if hosts apply for a permit by March 1, 2022.
Short Term Rental Permit
Hosts must obtain a valid, non-transferable annual Short Term Rental Permit to operate an STR in Huntington Beach. STR operators must apply for an STR Permit, accompanied by the fee established by the City Council. The application fee for the initial two years is $624, and the annual application renewal fee costs $324.
An STR Permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance. It is non-transferable and does not run with the land. Moreover, hosts must renew their permits annually.
The City shall render the STR Permit and authority to operate an STR if hosts do not submit their renewal applications at the last thirty days before the permit’s expiration.
The following STR permit conditions apply to all operators –
- By written agreement with the tenant, the STR operator shall limit the overnight occupancy of the STR to the number of occupants permitted by the City.
- The STR operator is responsible for ensuring that the STR’s occupants and guests do not cause unreasonable noise or disturbances. They must also not violate any federal, state, or local law, engage in disorderly conduct or use illegal drugs.
- STR operators must post a copy of the STR Permit and its requirements in a prominent location within the STR.
- Before the issuance of an STR Permit, the operator must submit a guest parking plan to the City for approval.
STRs must meet the following requirements at the time of submitting an STR Permit application:
- The dwelling unit must not be a deed-restricted affordable housing unit, in a special group residence, a Single Room Occupancy, or on the Prohibited Buildings List.
- The City shall not issue a permit for more than one STR to the operator within the City of Huntington Beach (including Sunset Beach).
- Only one STR Permit will be issued per property for single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes, or rental properties of any size.
- Up to three STR Permits can be issued per property on ownership properties with four or more units (condominiums and townhouses).
- STR operators could operate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) or junior ADUs as STRs if they legally established the units before the effective date of the Ordinance.
- All STRs must comply with the Noise Ordinance.
- The STR operator shall identify a local contact person, who shall be available 24/7 responding to complaints within 1 hour, and take the remedial action necessary to resolve such complaints.
Short Term Rental Regulations
The following are short term rental regulations to operate an STR in Huntington Beach:
- STR operators must display the City-issued STR Permit number in all marketing and advertising of an STR, such as listing on a hosting platform.
- Short term rentals are prohibited in any area of the property that has not been approved and permitted for residential use. These areas include vehicles parked on the property, storage sheds, garages, boats, or any other temporary structures.
- Each STR must have a notice posted within the unit, easily accessible for the guests, containing the following information:
- The maximum number of occupants permitted in the unit.
- The location of parking spaces.
- Information on trash as well as recycling pickup.
- Emergency contact information for police, fire, and emergency medical services.
- Emergency exits and fire extinguisher locations shown on the evacuation plan for the unit.
- STR operators shall place no sign advertising the unit’s availability on the STR’s exterior.
- The local contact’s name and a telephone number, where guests may reach that person 24 hours a day. Moreover, STR operators must post these details in a public area where everyone can see them.
- STR tenants must be at least 25 years old to be eligible.
- The City will make the STR contact information available to the public on its website.
- Hosts cannot operate an STR as any other commercial home-based business.
The maximum number of occupants of an STR at a time is two persons per bedroom, plus two additional guests (including children). In no case can the maximum occupancy in a short term rental exceed ten people. Commercial parties, weddings, fundraisers, and conferences are prohibited because they are large-scale events exceeding the maximum allowed occupancy.
STR operators must properly maintain short term rental properties with no code violations. Violation of any provision shall result in a $1000 fine every day. Moreover, the City will revoke an STR Operator’s Permit after three violations within a 12-month period.
Transient Occupancy Taxes
According to Huntington Beach Municipal Code, all STRs must collect Transient Occupancy Taxes (10%). In case a hosting platform fails to collect payment for the rental, STR operators are solely responsible for collecting all applicable TOT and remitting it to the City. The operator is also responsible for collecting and remitting the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) Assessments. Also, if a hosting platform collects money for the STRs, the hosting platform and the STR operator or host are all legally responsible for the TOT and TBID Assessment collection and remittance.
As a responsible host, you must comprehend and abide by other vacation rental rules and regulations that bind you. These include leases, community rules, HOA rules, or other guidelines set up by tenant associations. Feel free to reach out to your landlord, housing authority, or community council to find out more. To get more information about other short term rental regulations, you can also visit Huntington Beach’s official website or contact us.