Short-Term Residential Rental Starter Kit

The Short-Term Residential Rental Starter Kit provides you with everything you need to check eligibility, submit your applications, and help you stay compliant with City regulations.

What’s inside

Guides (1)

Guide - Short-Term Rental

The Short-Term Residential Rental Guide is an overview of what it takes to be a short-term rental host in San Francisco. Every property is different, but we provide the basic steps – along with tips, tricks and common mistakes to avoid. Explore below or download the Guide for quick reference.

Related Documents (1)

For Hosts that already have a BAN

This is supplemental information for hosts of short-term rentals who already have a Business Account Number (BAN).

Permits (2)

Business Registration Certificate

The basic city business registration required for all businesses who wish to operate in San Francisco.

Short-Term Residential Rental Application

Register your apartment, condo, or home to rent to visitors for short periods.

Short-Term Residential Rental Guide

The Short-Term Residential Rental Guide is an overview of what it takes to be a short-term rental host in San Francisco. Every property is different, but we provide the basic steps – along with tips, tricks and common mistakes to avoid. Explore below or download the Guide for quick reference.

Step 1: Check for Eligibility

Based on Charter 41 of the City’s Administrative Code, to host a short-term rental you must meet all the following conditions:


Host conditions:

  • Permanent resident of San Francisco
  • Owner or tenant of the unit you plan to rent
  • Lived in your dwelling for at least 90 days before applying
  • Plan to live in the unit for at least 275 nights/year


Dwelling conditions:

  • Must be compliant with all City codes
  • Cannot be located in The Presidio, Fort Mason, or Treasure Island
  • Cannot be a Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO) or dormitory
  • Cannot be a Below-Market-Rate (BMR) or Public Housing unit
  • Cannot be zoned commercial or industrial
  • Cannot be subject to an Ellis Act eviction after 11/1/14
  • Cannot have sleeping quarters in outdoor areas, including treehouses and vehicles

You can continue the steps to be a host if you meet all the conditions above.

Step 2: Understand the Rules

Before applying to be a Short-Term Rental Host, please ensure you can comply with all the following rules & regulations.


  • When you are home overnight at the same time as your guests, there is no limit on the number of rentals per year. This is called a “hosted rental”.

  • When you are not home overnight at the same time as your guests, there is a 90-day limit on the number of rentals per year. This is called an “un-hosted rental”.

  • If you own/rent a multi-unit building, you may only register the unit in which you reside.

  • Property liability insurance of at least $500,000 is required. If you are only offering short-term rentals through the Airbnb website, this requirement does not apply as equivalent coverage is provided. However, you are encouraged to discuss property and liability insurance coverage with your insurer.

  • If you are a tenant, you may not make more than your monthly rent from your short-term rental fees charged to guests.

  • If you are a tenant, please be aware that the owner of your unit will be notified of your intent to be a host.


Our goal is to help you navigate the process and host responsibly. We recognize that for many hosts this is their first time operating a business. If an issue is not clear, please review the FAQ section below.

If you still have questions, call or e-mail and we’d be glad to help you out.

Office of Short-Term Rentals:
415.575.9179
shorttermrentals@sfgov.org

Step 3: Register with the Tresurer & Tax Collector

Earning income from a short-term residential rental, regardless of the amount, is considered a business. Therefore, you are required to obtain a Business Registration Number, also known as a Business Account Number, or BAN.

Register your hosting business with the Treasurer & Tax Collector before registering with the Office of Short Term Rentals (Step 4). Based on eligibility rules, BAN registration for short-term rentals should be free.

If you already have another type of business registered in San Francisco, you can update your account to add your hosting business. Select industry type “Accommodations”.

Note
Hosting short-term rentals without registration numbers from both the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector and the Office of Short-Term Residential Rentals can result in significant fines and penalties.

Step 4: Apply with the Office of Short-Term Rentals

If you’ve made it this far you’ve completed the following steps:

1. Determined you’re eligible to be a host
2. Understand the Rules & Regulations
3. Received your BAN from the Treasurer & Tax Collector


You are now ready to apply. Please be aware there is a $250 NON-REFUNDABLE application fee. If approved, your application is good for 2 years. If denied, your $250 application fee is not reimbursable.

You may apply online, in person, or by mail.


Apply Online Apply in Person Apply by Mail



Step 5: Stay Compliant


Once you are certified to host it’s important to follow the guidelines to remain compliant.

1. Report your Short-Term Rental Stays Quarterly

Fill out the Quarterly Report provided by the Office of Short-Term Rentals. You will need to report all short-term stays which have occurred during the three-month reporting period. This report can be accessed and submitted online with the Office of Short-Term Rentals.

2. Renew your Business Certificate Annually

Renew your business registration certificate every year with the Treasurer & Tax Collector. Renewals are due every May 31st and can be submitted online.

3. Pay your Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

Anyone in San Francisco who receives rent for a stay of fewer than 30 days must collect a 14% tax on the amount that they earn from their guests. This is called the “Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)”.

Note Currently, the only hosting platform that is a Qualified Website Company is Airbnb. If you ONLY list your residence on Airbnb you do not need to collect TOT or obtain a Certificate of Authority. If you list your residence on Airbnb and other hosting platforms, you must still follow the guidelines above to fulfill your tax obligations on earnings from non-Airbnb hosting platforms.

If you have any questions specifically about taxes, please refer to the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s website, or call 311.

For hosts that use a platform other than or in addition to Airbnb, please refer to our FAQ section to learn more about calculating TOT.

4. File and pay your Business Personal Property Tax

Hosts are required to report an inventory of their Business Personal Property and potentially pay a tax on that property annually. Host are required submit Form 571-STR with the City of San Francisco Assessors Office. If you have previously submitted Form 571-STR for your hosting services and your personal property was valued at less than $50,000, you may not need to re-submit again. Visit the Assessors website to learn more about this exclusion.

5. Renew your Certificate with the Office of Short-Term Rentals every 2 Years

Once certified, you must continue to comply with the law. Visit the Office of Short-Term Rentals website to read the ongoing requirements for all short-term rental hosts.