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When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it is important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to give you some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in the City of Santa Barbara. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the Community Development Department other city agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional. Note that this page does not address regulations that apply in unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County.
- Land Use Regulations. Title 28 of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code— the Zoning Ordinance—regulates land uses in Santa Barbara. The City’s website provides a summary of the treatment of vacation rentals and home sharing under the Zoning Ordinance which states that all rentals of residential units for periods of less than 30 consecutive days are prohibited without the necessary land use approvals and permits. The City has created a useful guide outlining the process to apply for a vacation rental permit which includes a list of zones where vacation rental applications may be considered. You can determine your zoning information by using the parcel information tool on the City’s website. You should review the City’s permitting guide and the Zoning Ordinance for additional requirements that may apply to your listing.
- Building and Housing Regulations. Santa Barbara’s Municipal Code also contains a Chapter specifying minimum construction, design, and maintenance standards for buildings, including rules related to habitability, health, and safety. Certain regulations applicable to residential and non-residential uses may be relevant to your listing. You should consult Chapter 22.04 of the Municipal Code or contact the Building and Safety division for more information.
- Business License. Santa Barbara requires that anyone owning or operating a business obtain a business license. The city has a helpful website walking business owners through the licensing process.
- Transient Occupancy Tax. The City of Santa Barbara imposes a Transient Occupancy Tax on the rent charged to a guest for any occupancy for a period of thirty days or less. More information about the transient occupancy tax is available on the City's website.
- Other Rules. It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
Last updated: May 11, 2016