Short Term Rentals
Find the official Office of Short-Term Rentals website here.
The City's goal is to ensure that short-term rentals do not negatively affect the City's housing supply or damage the character of our neighborhoods. The Office of Short-Term Rentals works with the residents of San Francisco to ensure that short-term rental activity respects neighborhood character, preserves housing supply, and complies with the City’s rules. The Office is responsible for registering eligible hosts and for administering enforcement of the City's short-term rental regulations.
What is a short-term rental?
A short-term residential rental is a rental of all or a portion of your home for periods of less than 30 nights. For a more complete overview, read San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A.
What kind of short-term rentals are legal?
You must be the permanent resident of the unit you wish to rent.
To be considered the permanent resident, you must spend at least 275 nights a year in the unit where you host short-term rentals. If you own/rent a multi-unit building, you may only register the specific residential unit in which you reside. Also see: "Ineligible Properties."
You must be registered with the City as a business and as a short-term rental
You may only offer short-term rentals once you have obtained a Business Registration Certificate for your property from the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, and then received a certificate from the Office of Short-Term Rentals. The certificate number must be posted on all listings advertising a short-term rental. Learn more about becoming a legal short-term rental host.
You may host short-term rentals if you have a complete application pending review with our Office; currently reside in the dwelling unit; and there are also no City complaints pending against the entire property. Please note that our Office cannot require hosting platforms to operate a listing while an application is pending (but please contact us if you run into this issue). Also, please note that if you are a renter, our Office cannot require the property owner to allow your short-term rental activity in the event that private leases, or other private agreements prohibit such activity.
You may only rent 90 unhosted nights per year
"Unhosted rentals" occur when you are not present in your unit during your guests' stay. Registered hosts may only conduct unhosted short-term rentals for up to 90 nights per calendar year.
What are the laws regarding other types of rentals?
Rentals Longer than 30 Nights: Renter Rights and Rent Control
Rentals for more than 30 consecutive nights (by the same visitors) are not subject to short-term rental regulations or subject to hotel (transient occupancy) taxes. Business personal property taxes may still apply (administered by the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder).
In addition, rental/tenant protections and rent control provisions may apply to stays of 30 days or more. The Office of Short-Term Rentals cannot provide advice on tenant protection or rent control rules and laws. Contact the San Francisco Rent Board for more information.
If rentals are offered for more than 30 nights per guest stay (for those dwelling units not authorized to offer short-term rentals by the Office of Short-Term Rentals), ensure that booking calendars and advertisements for all online listings clearly indicate a 30-day minimum stay.
Renting Your Home for Meetings and Events
Some hosts use online platforms to rent out portions of their home for daytime events such as ceremonies, conferences or meetings. This type of activity generally violates Planning Code rules if the space being used is intended for residential use.
Short-Term Rentals in Commercial and Industrial Buildings
Short-term rentals may only be hosted in areas that are permitted for residential use. For example, short-term rentals may not be held in a institutional, commercial or industrial building, unless a specific portion of the building is authorized (per the Department of Building Inspection) as a residential dwelling unit. In addition, vehicles (including RVs and Camper Vans) and temporary structures (such as tents, sheds, tree houses, etc.) may not be used for short-term rentals. Short-term rentals can be hosted in residential portions of live-work units; if the host is a permanent resident. However, the short-term rental activity is not considered a qualifying business activity in those specific live-work units where a notice of special restrictions (NSR), recorded on the property, requires a business activity/registration for the "work" area. Also see: "Ineligible Properties."
Compliance Information for Hosting Platforms
San Francisco’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Administrative Code Chapter 41A) includes certain requirements for hosting platforms offering short-term rental bookings in San Francisco. Specifically, platforms must:
- Verify that any home offered for short-term rental is lawfully registered with OSTR before the platform may provide, or collect a fee for, booking services for that unit. This registration requirement does not apply to units specifically approved by the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) as timeshare units or tourist hotels ("residential hotels" are subject to different DBI rules that vary by property).
- Submit a monthly affidavit to OSTR affirming that they have exercised reasonable care to verify that hosts utilizing their service are lawfully registered with OSTR.
- Maintain business records for no less than the prior three years for each of their hosts and short-term rental transactions, and provide this information to OSTR upon request.
Please refer to the summary letter and Administrative Guidelines below for further instructions. If platforms fail to comply with these requirements, they may be subject to enforcement action and penalties.
How do I become a certified host?
You may only host short-term rentals in the same home (dwelling unit) where you ALSO live as a permanent resident (e.g. present at least 275 nights per year). If a property features multiple dwelling units, then you may only host short-term rentals in the same dwelling unit where you also live as a permanent resident. This is a core requirement of the City's short-term rental rules, which are intended to preserve long-term housing availability/opportunities and preserve neighborhood character.
Short-term rentals in residences are only legal if you are registered with the San Francisco Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector and have also received a certificate from the Office of Short-Term-Rentals.
If you are not certified and you advertise/rent a dwelling unit for periods of less than 30 nights, you are violating the City's short-term rental laws, and are subject to possible enforcement action, including substantial penalties.
You may host short-term rentals if you have a complete application pending review with the Office of Short-Term Rentals; currently reside in the dwelling unit; and there are no City complaints pending against the entire property. Please note that the Office of Short-Term Rentals cannot require hosting platforms to operate a listing while an application is pending. Also, please note that if you are a renter, OSTR cannot require the property owner to allow your short-term rental activity in the event that private leases, or other private agreements, prohibit such activity. If the application is ultimately denied, then the host would need to cease short-term rentals.
Fines and penalties for illegal short-term rental hosting
Violations of the City’s short-term rental laws are subject to penalties of at least $484 per day for each dwelling unit in violation. These daily penalties begin on the day that a Notice of Violation is issued by the Office of Short-Term Rentals, and continue to accrue until the violation is fully abated. Repeat violations may be subject to escalated penalties and referral to the City’s Attorney’s Office for additional civil and/or criminal penalties.
Registering and your privacy
The San Francisco Property Information Map (under the "Planning Apps" tab) shows whether a short-term rental registry application has been approved for a property. No other identifying information from your application is posted online or provided to the public.
Step 1 of 2: Register as a business
Obtain a Business Registration Certificate from the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. Visit the San Francisco Business Portal to learn more about applying for a Business Registration Certificate online.
- When you complete the online business registration, make sure to use the street address of your home where you plan to host short-term rentals as the "business location." Include the apartment/condominium suite number or suffix, if applicable. For example: "222 49th Avenue Unit B."
- Indicate "YES" when asked if your business involves short-term rentals
- Indicate "NO" for utility users tax
- Indicate "YES" when asked if your business involves transient occupancy tax ("hotel taxes")
- For the business type field, choose: "Accommodations."
- For the business name you have a number of options, including using your own name (a fictitious business name is not mandatory), or using the street address number and street name as the business name.
If you already have a business registration for a separate type of business in San Francisco, then update your account with the SF Treasurer and add a new business location for Accommodations (even if the same address as your current business).
Note: This step must be finalized before you can register as a certified host.
Step 2 of 2: Register to become a certified host
Obtain a host certificate (valid for 2 years) from the Office of Short-Term Rentals. You may only offer (list/advertise) short-term-rentals after you have received this certificate, and your certificate number must be posted on all listings advertising your short-term rental. Review the eligibility requirements below. Please do not apply if you do not reside full-time at the individual dwelling unit (apartment/suite/home) as a permanent resident (please see the "Am I Eligible" Section further below).
Click here to visit the SF Business Portal and register online. Choose the option that says: "Step 4: Apply with OSTR (Office of Short-Term Rentals)." You can also download the application and make an appointment to register in-person with the Office of Short-Term Rentals. Please note that staff can arrange for assistance in different languages, if needed. In-person appointments do not result in a faster review timeline.
Am I eligible to legally host short-term rentals?
In order to start hosting short-term residential rentals in your home you must meet all of the following conditions:
- Be the permanent resident
You must live in the actual dwelling unit (e.g. apartment, suite, condominium) that you wish to offer as a short-term rental for at least 275 nights of any given calendar year, as either an owner or a tenant. If your property features multiple dwelling units, you may not live in one dwelling unit, while operating short-term rentals in a different dwelling unit.
--If you are a new resident, you must have resided in this specific dwelling for at least 60 consecutive days prior to your application.
--If you own/rent a multi-unit building, you may only register the specific residential unit (apartment, suite, condominium) in which you reside.
Ineligible properties (where short-term rentals are not allowed), and rules for Live/Work Units & Hotels
Are you a tenant (renter), condominium owner, or TIC owner?
Neighborhood notification for some single-family neighborhoods (RH-1D Zoning Districts)
Have property liability insurance
You must have property liability insurance in the amount of no less than $500,000, or provide proof that property liability coverage in an equal or higher amount is being provided by any and all hosting platforms through which you will rent your unit. Proof of liability insurance is not required if hosting activity is only handed by a platform (website) that already extends similar liability coverage.
Resolve any code violations
Ensure that your dwelling unit remains compliant with all Building, Housing, Planning, and other City codes. If your dwelling unit (apartment/suite) is located within an apartment building or tenancy-in-common (TIC) building, then the entire property (including other dwelling units) must be compliant and not subject to Code Enforcement.
What is allowed once I'm a certified host?
Once you have received a Short-Term Residential Rental Registration Number you may:
- Put up listing(s) on hosting platform websites (including your registration number in all listings).
- Rent a portion of your unit for less than 30 consecutive nights while you are also present (hosted rentals) for an unlimited number of nights per calendar year.
- Rent a portion or your entire unit for less than 30 consecutive nights while you are not present (unhosted rentals), for a maximum of 90 nights per calendar year.
What you may never do with your registered dwelling unit:
- You may never rent your residential unit or a portion of your home for more than 90 nights per calendar year while you are not also present overnight during the time of the guests' stay.
- You may never rent illegal residential units, or those areas within your home that were built without completed building permits.
- If you are a tenant (renter) in a rent-controlled unit, you may never make more than your monthly rent from your short-term rental fees charged in the same month to guests.
- You may not offer more than 5 individual short-term rental reservations within your dwelling unit at the same time (i.e. offer no more than 5 individual beds as separate, bookable listings).
What if my application is rejected or my certificate is revoked or suspended?
If your application for a certificate is rejected, suspended, or if a previously-issued certificate has been revoked by the Office of Short-Term Rentals, you may file a written appeal within thirty calendar days from the date of the notice of rejection, suspension, or revocation. Hosts must cancel any pending reservations (for stays of less than 30 days) and remove any online listings (offering stays of less than 30 days), if an application is denied (even if an appeal is filed), or if a certificate is suspended or revoked (even if an appeal is filed). For further information, please review these procedures.
After becoming a certified host, here's what you need to do maintain your status and stay certified.
After you get a short-term rental certificate, you must:
- Remain the permanent resident at the dwelling where you host short-term rentals. If you sell your dwelling unit, the certificate cannot be transferred to the new owner or a different dwelling unit. Only one Permanent Resident may be associated with a Residential Unit on the Registry, and it shall be unlawful for any other person, even if that person meets the qualifications of a "Permanent Resident," to offer a Residential Unit for Short-Term Residential Rental.
- Stay under the limits: "Unhosted" stays (when you are not home overnight) are limited to 90 total nights per year. "Hosted" stays (when you are home overnight) are not limited. You may not offer more than 5 individual short-term rental reservations within your dwelling unit (i.e. offer no more than 5 individual beds as separate, bookable listings).
- Report all of your stays at the end of each quarter to the Office of Short-Term Rentals (see below).
- Pay your hotel taxes: Transient occupancy taxes ("hotel taxes") apply to short-term rentals. If the hosting platform you are using does not automatically remit taxes to the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector, you will need to ensure that taxes are remitted. Please be aware that additional State and Federal income taxes may also apply. Please contact SF311 (311 on your phone) for questions regarding hotel taxes.
- Pay your business personal property taxes: You are required to pay taxes on personal property used by your guests, in your rental, such as furniture, kitchen appliances, supplies, and equipment. For more information, download the Assessor-Recorder Short Term Rental FAQ.
- Renew your business registration certificate with the Office of the Treasure & Tax Collector yearly.
- Renew your registration with the Office of Short-Term Rentals every two years.
- Ensure your property (including other dwellings if your unit is within a tenancy in common [TIC] building) remains free of violations of Building, Housing, Planning, and all other City codes. No exterior signage is allowed as short-term rentals are intended to remain incident to the residential nature of the dwelling unit. In addition, a certificate can be revoked due to ongoing noise/event/party complaints.
Fines and penalties for illegal short-term rental hosting
Report your short-term stays four times a year
To maintain good standing as a certified short-term rental host, you must submit a quarterly report to the Office of Short-Term Rentals. The quarters begin on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1 of each year. At the end of each quarter, you have 30 days to report the number of nights you have rented your unit (hosted and unhosted) as a short-term rental. This requirement applies no matter which hosting platform/website you use. Registered hosts must still report no stays if no short-term rentals occurred within the quarterly reporting period.
Renewing your certification
Your certificate will be valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance, provided that you remain in "good standing" as a host. If you wish to continue to offer your unit for short-term rental at the end of this initial two-year period, you will want to submit your renewal application in advance of your expiration date to avoid a break in your certified status. Please do NOT submit a renewal application & new (current) application fee more than 30 days in advance of the expiration date.
If You Decide to Stop Hosting Short-Term Rentals
- Remove all (online) listings that advertise your short-term rental and cancel pending short-term rental reservations for stays of less than 30 days.
- Hosts may also choose to close their (separate) business registration certificate, by filling out this form with the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector to declare that you are no longer hosting.
- Complete this form with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder. Depending on the date of your business closure, you may still need to declare business personal property taxes for the current year. Business personal property taxes are separate from hotel taxes (transient occupancy taxes).
- Email the Office of Short-Term Rentals with the following information:
--Your STR certificate number
--Your street address
--Your full name
--A statement that you no longer intend to host short-term rentals
Complaints & Enforcement
The Office of Short-Term Rentals works with the residents of San Francisco to ensure that short-term rental activity respects our neighborhood character while preserving precious housing supply.
Is my neighbor's short-term rental operating legally? Do they have a City-issued registration number?
A unit may not actively host/advertise short-term rental guests (staying for less than 30 days) without a City-issued registration number. A unit also may not be advertised for short-term rentals without a registration number issued by the Office of Short-Term Rentals included on the listing.
Please note that both a business tax certificate (from the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector) and a short-term rental registration number (from the Office of Short-Term Rentals) are required.
Do they live in the unit?
Even if a unit has a City-issued registration number, the permanent resident must continue to reside in the specific dwelling unit for at least 275 nights a year.
Are they renting too many "unhosted" nights when they aren't there?
Even if a unit has a City-issued registration number, they may not conduct unhosted rentals (where the resident is not present overnight during the guest's stay) for more than 90 nights per year.
Do you have a noise, trash, or construction complaint?
How do I find out if a property has a City-issued registration number?
Visit the City's Property Information Map, search for the address of the property, and click on the 'Planning Apps' tab. A Short-Term Rental Certificate will be listed (at the bottom of the Planning Apps screen) if one is currently active on the property.
Please note that pending applications for a Certificate are not displayed on the Property Information Map.
Filing a complaint
If you believe a property is operating illegally, you may file a complaint by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling (415) 575-9179. You may also download a complaint form and send it to us via email or USPS.
After we receive your complaint we will investigate, which may take several weeks.
When filing the complaint, please provide the following information:
- Address of possible violation, including unit number (if known) or floor number
- Dates and descriptions of activity observed
- Any other relevant details that may be available, like the name of the possible host, or links to possible online listings, etc.
You may file this complaint anonymously if you wish, although it is helpful for our staff to have your contact information available so that we can follow up with you if needed. If you request to file your complaint anonymously, your contact information will be kept in a separate confidential file (please note that complaint information may still be subject to subpoena by a court). You may also leave a complaint by voicemail at (415) 575-9179.
Fines and penalties for illegal short-term rental hosting
Violations of the City’s short-term rental laws are subject to penalties of at least $484 per day for each dwelling unit in violation. These daily penalties begin on the day that a Notice of Violation is issued by the Office of Short-Term Rentals and continue to accrue until the violation is fully abated (the short-term rental activity ceases). Repeat violations may be subject to escalated penalties ($968, per day, per dwelling unit, for a 2nd violation) and referral to the City’s Attorney’s Office for additional civil and/or criminal penalties.