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What is a Hosted Rental?

A Hosted Rental is a short-term rental (less than 30 days) of one or two bedrooms in a home, where the property owner will stay on site during the rental. A Hosted Rental is different from a “Vacation Rental” which is a short-term rental of an entire house. A Hosted Rental is also different from a “Bed and Breakfast” which is a hosted short-term rental of three to five rooms.

Want to Learn More?

Hosted Rental Ordinance


Visit the Planning Counter, email us at or call the Zoning Information Line at (831) 454-2130.

Hosted Rental Permits

As of March 26, 2019, the County has reached its limit of 250 Hosted Rental Permits. The Hosted Rental Program is full; no additional permits are available at this time.

Property owners must obtain a permit in order to operate a Hosted Rental in Santa Cruz County. Permits are valid for five years.

Application Requirements

Property owners who wish to submit applications for Hosted Rentals should come in to the Planning Department during counter hours with the following information:

  • Application Form
  • Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) certificate or signed application form from the County Tax Collector (701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, CA; For more information, visit the County’s TOT Website, review the TOT Application Form or contact the Tax Collector at (831) 454-2510 or
  • Copy of rental/lease agreement. For hosts who use an online hosting platform such as AirBnb where the rental/lease agreement may be integrated into the online platform website, a copy of the House Rules is sufficient. See Application Form for a list of required items to include in rental/lease agreement or house rules. Applicants can start with the Sample Hosted Rental Agreement and fill in project-specific information.
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $145.20

Maximum Permits Available

Hosts may apply for permits on a first-come, first-served basis, and there will be a cap of 250 total permits as well as limits on permits for specific beach neighborhoods. This cap on rentals has been established because although Hosted Rentals have clear benefits to our community, such as lodging tourists and supplemental income for property owners, there can be negative impacts, especially in beach neighborhoods that are particularly popular tourist destinations. Residents may experience parking, traffic, safety, noise, and community character impacts related to a large number of rentals in their neighborhood.

Beach Neighborhood Designated Areas

After the initial 90-day permit application period, the following permit limits will apply to specific beach neighborhoods. In the beachfront Live Oak and Seacliff/Aptos Designated Areas, 15% of total parcels in each of these areas may have permits for short-term rentals. In the Davenport/Swanton Designated Area, 10% of total parcels may have permits for short-term rentals. Short-term rental permits in these three areas are limited 20% of residential use parcels per block, with exceptions detailed in the County Code.

Notwithstanding these maximums, each block in these areas may have at least one parcel with a short-term rental.