Regarding Short-Term Rentals and Homeshares
* Note regarding terminology: “Temporary Rental Unit” (TRU) is a collective term for both a short-term rental and a homeshare.
TRUs and Where They Are Regulated
Q1: What is the difference between a “Short-Term Rental” and a “Homeshare”?
A: A short-term rental (“STR”) is defined as a dwelling, any portion of which is rented for a period less than thirty consecutive days when the owner is not physically present, with no meals or food provided to the renter or renters. A homeshare is defined as a dwelling which is the primary residence of an owner who possesses at least a twenty percent ownership interest in the subject parcel, with any portion of the dwelling rented for a period less than thirty consecutive days when the owner is physically present in the same dwelling, with no meals or food provided to the renter or renters. The primary difference is that a dwelling used as a homeshare must be the primary residence of an owner and that owner must physically reside in the homeshare during the times it is rented. Owners of STRs need not be present when renting out the dwelling.
Q2: Are specific areas of the County regulated differently?
A: Yes. The Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance regulates those areas of unincorporated Ventura County outside of the Coastal Zone which can be found here. The Coastal Zoning Ordinance regulates those areas of unincorporated Ventura County located within the Coastal Zone which can be found here. The Coastal Zone boundaries were established by the state in the 1970s (click here to see a map).
Q3: What are the regulations in the Ojai Valley?
A: A comprehensive set of operating requirements and performance standards have been established within the TRU Regulation Overlay Zone. The following is a summary of some of the most notable regulations and standards within the Overlay Zone:
- Requires that a “homeshare” be the owner’s primary residence, and that the owner be physically present in the same dwelling as the short-term renter (i.e. rental of a separate cottage or structure is prohibited).
- Allows homeshares with a land use permit (zoning clearance), which must be obtained annually.
- Prohibits STRs, except on currently designated historic landmark properties.
- Establishes ownership requirements and limitations (e.g. only property owners can obtain a permit, permits expire upon change of ownership, only one TRU per owner).
- Defines ineligible dwellings (e.g. permitted accessory dwelling units, affordable/ caretaker/farmworker units).
- Sets overnight occupancy limits for homeshares at two bedrooms and a maximum of five persons.
- Sets overnight occupancy limits for STRs operating during the grace period at two persons per bedroom plus two others, up to a maximum of 10 persons.
- Establishes on-site parking requirements and noise limitations.
- Prohibits on-site events.
- Specifies property management & complaint response requirements.
- Establishes a complete inspection/compliance/enforcement program.
Q4: How are the regulations different along the coast?
A: A comprehensive set of operating requirements and performance standards have been established within the Coastal Zone boundaries of unincorporated Ventura County. The Coastal Zoning Ordinance amendments became effective November 1, 2018. For any TRU operated and rented prior to November 1, 2018, a permit application must have been submitted to the County by January 30, 2019. Any existing unpermitted TRUs operating after January 30, 2019 are subject to enforcement action. After that time, a permit application for any newly proposed TRU must be submitted to the County prior to beginning operation of the new use.
Q5: When do the regulations go into effect?
A: The Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance regulations which governs those areas of unincorporated Ventura County outside of the Coastal Zone took effect July 19, 2018. The Coastal Zoning Ordinance regulates those areas of unincorporated Ventura County located within the Coastal Zone which took effect November 1, 2018.
Q6: If an operating short-term rental is no longer allowed under the new regulations, can it continue to operate?
A: For the Non-Coastal Zone, within the Ojai TRU Regulation Overlay Zone, SHORT-TERM RENTALS are not permitted to operate unless the dwelling is classified as a historic landmark as of June 19, 2018. HOMESHARES are allowed to operate provided that they have a legal permit issued by the Ventura County Code Compliance Division.
Obtaining a Permit
Q7: How long does it take to get a permit once I apply for one?
A: It is important to note that various documents must be submitted with the application including, but not limited to, a property site plan, the contact information and signature of all owners and any property manager(s), proof of compliance with any applicable business tax, licensing and transient occupancy tax requirements, proof of insurance, and for homeshares only, proof of homeowner’s exemption from the County Assessor. The site plan may be drawn by hand or prepared by a professional architect or engineer. For detailed information regarding application requirements, please refer to the application package found here.
Following the submittal of a complete application and payment of all required fees, a pre-permitting inspection of the property will be scheduled. The purpose of the inspection is to determine the number of bedrooms within the unit, to ensure the dwelling and site comply with the TRU regulations and other applicable building and zoning codes and regulations regarding parking, access, fire, and other relevant health and safety standards. (Click here to see an inspection checklist which identifies the items to be reviewed during the pre-inspection.)
Once a pre-permitting inspection is approved and all business and transient occupancy tax (if required) is paid, a permit will be issued within approximately one week.
Q8: Are there fees for applying for a permit?
A: Yes. There are fees associated with the processing of the permit and conducting the site inspection. In addition, there is a compliance deposit that must be made to cover any future costs absorbed by the County to ensure compliance with the standards and requirements of the ordinance.
The cost of the current application fee is $1195.00 and a compliance monitoring deposit fee of $500.00 for short term rentals and $100.00 for homeshares.
Q9: How long will the permit last?
A: Permits for homeshares and short-term rentals will be issued or renewed for a maximum term of one year from the date of issuance, or until the sale or transfer of the property, or until the permit is revoked for cause, whichever comes first.
Q10: If I am a renter or lessee, can I get a permit to operate a temporary rental unit?
A: Permits may only be issued to the owner(s) of the homeshare or short-term rental property. In the case of a homeshare, the owner (not a lessee or renter) must be present in the same unit when it is rented as a homeshare.
Rental Unit Requirements
Q11: Can a short-term rental be operated out of a guest house or similar accessory building?
A: No. Per Section 8109-220.127.116.11 and 8175-18.104.22.168 of the Coastal and Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance, A dwelling that was permitted as a “second dwelling unit” or an “accessory dwelling unit” is ineligible for a TRU permit.
For information about dwelling unit permits or if you have further questions for the Planning Division, please call 805-654-2488 or 805-654-2451.
Q12: Can I own and operate more than one temporary rental unit in Ventura County?
Under Section 8175-22.214.171.124 (b) and 8109-126.96.36.199 (b) of the Coastal and Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance, A permit may only be issued for a homeshare or short-term rental property if no owner of the subject homeshare or short-term rental property is also the owner of another homeshare or short-term rental property that is currently permitted under this Section. In addition, if the property contains multiple dwelling units (e.g. a duplex, cottages or apartments), only one dwelling unit on the property is eligible for permitting as a homeshare or short-term rental under this Section.
Q13: If I own a duplex or multi-family dwelling (three or more dwelling units), can I rent out more than one unit at a time?
A: If a property contains multiple dwelling units (e.g., a duplex, cottages or apartments), only one dwelling unit on the property is eligible for permitting as a homeshare or short-term rental.
Q14: I converted my garage/den/or other space into a bedroom. Can I use this space as a bedroom for the operation of a temporary rental unit?
A: If the conversion of the garage, den or other space to a bedroom was permitted and a final inspection was completed by the County Building and Safety Division, the space is eligible to be used as a bedroom within a homeshare or STR subject to permitting requirements.
Q15: What if a prospective short-term renter wants to book my property for a party or other celebration? Is that allowed?
A: For the Non-Coastal Zone, the use of a homeshare or STR for a celebration and/or event is limited by the occupancy and noise standards. The occupancy limits vary depending on the number of bedrooms. However, in no case can more than 11 people (including the owners) be present on a homeshare property, or more than 16 people on a STR property at one time. Please refer to the following Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance Sections for more information:
(Click here to view the entire Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance)
For the Coastal Zone, the use of a homeshare or STR for a celebration and/or event is limited by the occupancy and noise standards. The occupancy limits vary depending on the number of bedrooms. However, in no case can more than 11 people be present on a homeshare property, or more than 16 people on a STR property at one time. Please refer to the following Coastal Zoning Ordinance Sections for more information:
(Click here to view the entire Coastal Zoning Ordinance)
Q16: For a homeshare, can I rent out more than one room at a time?
A: Homeshares are limited to a maximum of two bedrooms for rental. Overnight occupancy is limited to a maximum of five rental guests. Homeshares and short-term rentals are limited to one group at a time and no more than one rental agreement shall be effective for any given date.
Q17: Are there limits on the number of renters in a unit at any one time?
A: Short-term rental overnight occupancy is limited to a maximum of two persons per bedroom occupying up to five bedrooms, plus two additional persons, up to a maximum of ten persons. Homeshares shall have a maximum of two bedrooms available for rental. Overnight occupancy is limited to a maximum of five rental guests.
Q18: Do parking spaces need to be provided for renters?
A: Yes, on-site parking spaces must be provided as follows:
Permitted garages and driveways on the property must be unobstructed and made available for renter parking, if such location(s) are needed to satisfy the parking requirements.
Q19: Are there other operating requirements that must be met?
A: Yes. In addition to events (see Q16), maximum occupancy limits (see Q18), and required parking (see Q19), there are standards related to noise and trash.
For noise, no use or activity associated with a TRU shall at any time create unreasonable noise or disturbance and quiet hours are between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. There shall be no outdoor amplified music/sound during quiet hours when a property is rented as a TRU. Trash, adequate waste collection facilities and services shall be provided for the TRU at all times. The waste bins should not be left within public view except in proper containers for the purpose of collection on the scheduled collection day(s). The waste collection schedule and information about recycling and green waste separation and disposal shall be included in the rental agreement and posted visibly in the rental unit.
For complete information regarding TRU operating requirements, please refer to the appropriate Ordinance for more information (Click here to see a copy of the Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance and Click here to see a copy of the Coastal Zoning Ordinance)
Q20: Am I required to hire a property manager to manage the operation of my temporary rental unit?
A: No. In fact, homeshare owners must be onsite between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., and within 40 miles of the property at all other times. This requirement may not be delegated to a property manager. Owners of STRs have the option of serving as a property manager, provided that they are available at all times and within forty miles of the property at all times the STR is being rented out. Alternatively, an owner may hire up to two property managers, one of whom shall be available at all times and within 40 miles of the property.
Q21: If a short-term rental unit that I own is managed by a property manager and the County determines that a violation has occurred, who is responsible for resolving it?
A: Regardless of the management arrangements, the owner(s) of homeshares and short-term rentals are ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with, and are liable for violations of, the requirements.
Q22: What information must be included in the advertisements and listings for a temporary rental unit? And must it be included in listings through web hosting platforms (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)?
A: Each rental agreement, advertisement, and online listing for a short-term rental or homeshare must prominently display the following information:
- The permitted occupancy and guest limits for both day and night;
- Notification that quiet hours shall be observed between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.;
- Notification that no outdoor amplified music or sound is allowed during quiet hours;
- Notification that the property cannot be used for events that exceed the applicable occupancy or guest limits, or that violate the quiet hours, noise standards or any other standard or requirement of the TRU regulations;
- The available number of onsite parking spaces, and notification discouraging use of on-street parking;
- The County-issued permit number authorizing the homeshare or short-term rental;
- The current County-issued Business License Tax Certificate identification number, if required for the operation; and
- All advertisements for homeshares shall state that the unit is an owner-occupied dwelling, and the owner will be present in the home.
No advertisements or notices regarding the availability of a dwelling for homeshare or short-term rental use shall be posted on the property.
Q23: Do I need a business license to own and operate a temporary rental unit?
A: Yes. Any person/entity operating a facility providing transient accommodations (which includes STRs) located within the unincorporated areas of Ventura County must maintain a valid Business Tax Certificate. Contact the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office at (805) 654-3727 for more information.
Q24: Do I need to pay transient occupancy taxes (TOTs)?
A: Under the County’s Uniform Transient Occupancy Ordinance, any person or entity operating an STR within the unincorporated area of Ventura County that is not the property owner’s primary residence must register for a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate and pay the TOT.
For questions regarding taxes, please contact the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office at (805) 654-3727 for more information.
Q25: Do I need to carry any special insurance to operate a temporary rental unit, or will my existing homeowner’s policy suffice?
A: The TRU owner is required to maintain an insurance policy that includes coverage for commercial/business general liability with a minimum limit of $500,000 per occurrence for claims of personal injury or property damage.
Q26: Are there any signage requirements or prohibitions?
A: Yes. For exterior/outside unit signage, posting of the designated property manager’s contact information and the contact information for the County Resource Management Agency’s Code Compliance Division (“Code Compliance Division”) is required. This information shall be printed legibly on a sign no larger than 8.5 X 11 inches on an outside wall readily visible from the main entrance to the dwelling, or adjacent to the main entry gate where property access is limited. For interior/inside unit signage, the following is required to be posted visibly inside the dwelling within six feet of the main entrance of the TRU:
- The information required as part of listing, advertisements, and rental agreements (see Q23) shall be posted;
- The name and contact information for the designated property manager of a short-term rental or owner of a homeshare, and the telephone number(s) at which the person can be reached at all times;
- The waste collection schedule and information about recycling and green waste separation and disposal;
- Notification that the property owner, renter, and occupants are subject to criminal citation and fines, civil penalties and/or permit revocation for violations of the unit’s occupancy limits, noise standards and other operational standards.
Advertisements or notices regarding the availability of a dwelling for a TRU are prohibited from being posted on the property.
Q27: Are there other management requirements that must be met?
A: Yes. In addition to information in rental agreements, advertisements and listings (see Q23), business license (see Q24), business taxes/transient occupancy tax (see Q25), insurance requirements (see Q26), and signage (see Q27); there are requirements for defense and indemnification, and record-keeping. For complete information regarding TRU management requirements, please refer to the appropriate Ordinance for more information (Click here to view the entire Non-Coastal Zoning Ordinance and Click here to view the entire Coastal Zoning Ordinance)
Compliance & Enforcement
Q28: What if I operate a temporary rental unit without a permit?
A: Violations of the TRU regulations are punishable as a misdemeanor/infraction criminal offense. The TRU regulations provide the authority for the County to conduct proactive investigations of potential violations and to impose civil administrative penalties of up to $1,000 per day for confirmed violations. In addition, the County maintains an online public complaint process found here, which is monitored and, as appropriate, investigated by Code Compliance staff.
Q29: My neighbor is operating a temporary rental unit and there are noise, parking or other problems, what can I do?
A: The County requires that a sign listing the name and contact information of the property manager or owner be posted near the front door of the TRU. Complaints should first be directed to the listed individual(s). If there is no sign, or if the property manager or owner does not promptly resolve the issue, a complaint should be directed to County Code Compliance staff by completing an online form here or by calling (805) 654-3506 during office hours and (805) 662-5673 after hours.
The Temporary Rental Unit regulations codify the following protocol for complaints: Upon receipt of a complaint that any renter, occupant or visitor of a homeshare or short-term rental has created unreasonable noise or disturbance and/or potentially violated any other operational standard, the property manager or owner shall take all necessary actions to promptly resolve the issue, including by initially contacting the renter to correct the problem within thirty minutes, or within fifteen minutes during the quiet hours between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., after the complaint is first received.