Occupancy restriction

Occupancy is limited to 2 people per bedroom or 10 people per property, whichever is less.

Length of Stay
Less than 30 consecutive calendar days
Registration & Licensing Fees
The STR Registration is non-refundable and costs $250 per year. It must be renewed by July 1st of each year. Keep in mind that the application deadline for STR Registration is July 1st of the same year.
Licenses or Permits Required
Yes, a license or permit is required
Property Inspection
No, inspections are not required
Guest Record
Yes, guest record-keeping is required for short-term rentals in the City of San Mateo. Hosts must retain records that document compliance with the city's short-term rental regulations, including but not limited to records showing payment of transient occupancy taxes, for a period of three years after each rental period.
Zoning

In unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, particularly within the Coastal Zone, short-term rentals are allowed under specific conditions. Property owners can rent out their homes for short durations (less than 30 days) with a permit and must pay Transient Occupancy Tax. Short-term rentals are permitted only within legal residences zoned for single-family or multi-family residential use within the Coastal Zone​.

Occupancy taxes and fees

A transient occupancy tax of 14% is levied by the city. Monthly payments are made to the City by renters who collect the tax from their guests.

Insurance requirement

Regulations for short-term rentals include specific insurance requirements to ensure that properties are adequately protected.

Does any Building, Health & Safety Regulation affects STR?

Building, health, and safety regulations in San Mateo County do affect short-term rentals, particularly in the Coastal Zone.

Parking Requirement

Properties with three or fewer bedrooms must provide at least one off-street parking space. Properties with four or more bedrooms must provide at least two off-street parking spaces.

Advertising Requirement

Before advertising or making your property available for short-term rental, you must register your primary residence as a Short-Term Rental with the city. This registration includes submitting a form with your contact information, the address of the residence being used for short-term rental, contact information for a local contact person, and an acknowledgment of compliance with the city's Zoning Ordinance and Municipal Codes.

Noise regulation

It is not permitted to hold weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, business activities, or any other events of a similar nature at the short-term rental property if they could potentially cause issues with parking, traffic, noise, or other neighborhood concerns.

Neighbor Notification

None required

Limitation on number of STR owned

The limitations on the number of short-term rentals an individual can own in San Mateo County, specifically within the Coastal Zone, are defined by regulations focusing on zoning and usage rather than the explicit number of properties one can operate.

Regulations on hosting events or parties in STR

The Short-Term Rental property is not permitted to host weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, commercial functions, or any other events of a similar nature that can potentially cause issues with parking, traffic, noise, or other neighborhood concerns.

Regulations on hosting events or parties in STR

The Short-Term Rental property is not permitted to host weddings, parties, corporate gatherings, commercial functions, or any other events of a similar nature that can potentially cause issues with parking, traffic, noise, or other neighborhood concerns.

Hosting events regulations
Restrictions on number of reservations

There is an annual limit of 120 days per calendar year, when hosts are not present. Hosted properties have no annual limit on the number of days they can be rented.

Waste disposal regulations

Waste Disposal Regulations are outlined to ensure that these accommodations do not negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

Accessibility Requirement

There are no specific accessibility requirements

waste disposal regulations
Waste disposal regulations

Waste Disposal Regulations are outlined to ensure that these accommodations do not negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

Emergency Contact Information

A Local Contact Person is provided as part of registration application and renewal in order to assist with potential noise, parking, trash, or traffic issues. This person must be available 24 hours, seven days a week during the term of a rental stay. They must respond with 60 minutes and take remedial action to resolve any complaints.

What is short term rental?

In San Mateo, a short-term rental is defined as the use or possession of, or the right to use or possess, any room or rooms, or portions thereof in any dwelling unit for residing, sleeping, or lodging purposes for less than 30 consecutive calendar days. This includes counting portions of days as full calendar days. Short-term rentals are permitted in any residence subject to compliance with the operating standards, registration, Transient Occupancy Tax payments, payment of business license taxes, and recordkeeping obligations​.

Are there STR regulations that affect property owners?

San Mateo County and its cities have specific regulations for property owners interested in short-term rentals. Here's a summary of the key regulations across different parts of the county:

San Mateo County Coastal Zone

  • Property owners in certain parts of the San Mateo County Unincorporated Coastal Zone can legally rent their homes as short-term rentals (less than 30 days) with a permit and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).
  • Short-term rentals are allowed within legal residences on parcels zoned for Single Family (R-1) or Multi-Family (R-3) residential use within the Coastal Zone.
  • The use of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for short-term rentals is prohibited​​.

City of San Mateo

  • The City of San Mateo requires property owners to apply for a short-term rental registration, obtain a business license, complete a transient occupancy tax certification form, and follow operating standards.
  • The annual Short-Term Rental Registration Fee is $250, due July 1st each year.
  • Regulations include limiting rentals to legal dwelling units, providing a local contact person, restricting rentals to no more than 120 days a year when hosts are not present on-site, prohibiting parties or special events, and setting occupancy limits​​.

City of Redwood City

  • In Redwood City, the primary residence may be rented out for short-term stays with no limit on the number of days per year if the host is present. However, if the host is not present, the rental is limited to 120 days per calendar year.
  • A local contact person must be identified for unhosted stays to respond to complaints, and existing on-site parking spaces must be made available to renters.
  • Transient Occupancy Tax funds received from short-term rentals are dedicated to support affordable housing programs and administration​​.
Is there any short-term rental-related tax?

There is indeed a tax related to short-term rentals, known as the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). For properties rented out for short-term stays, operators are required to collect and remit a TOT. As of January 1, 2021, the City of San Mateo imposes a TOT rate of 14% on the rent charged by the operator of any structure designed for transient occupancy, which includes short-term rentals. The collected tax must be remitted to the city or designated receiver by the last day of each month

Is it only individuals that are permitted to operate short-term rental?

Not only individuals but also lessees of residential real property can operate short-term rentals, provided they comply with specific regulations set by the city. According to the City of San Mateo's short-term rental regulations, a "host" is defined as any person who is the owner of record of residential real property or any person who is a lessee of residential real property pursuant to a written agreement for the lease of such real property.

What are the procedures and requirement for the neighborhood approval?

None

Do I need a neighborhood approval?

In San Mateo County, including the City of San Mateo, there is no explicit requirement for neighborhood approval for operating a Short-Term Rental (STR)

Building, Health & Safety Regulation

For building regulations, San Mateo County adheres to a comprehensive set of codes that include the International Building Code, Uniform Housing Code, National Electrical Code, among others, to ensure uniform administration and enforcement of construction, maintenance, and safety standards. These regulations are designed to provide safe homes, offices, stores, and other buildings through the permitting and inspection process for construction projects within the county's unincorporated areas​.

Which of these taxes does Airbnb or other booking company collect?

The information provided on the official San Mateo city website did not specify whether Airbnb or other booking platforms collect and remit taxes such as the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) on behalf of short-term rental hosts in San Mateo. Hosts are generally responsible for understanding and complying with local tax requirements, including registration, obtaining a business license, completing a transient occupancy tax certification, and adhering to operating standards. For direct details on whether platforms like Airbnb collect and remit taxes in San Mateo, it's best to consult directly with the platform or the city's short-term rental regulation.

What zoning laws affect Short Term Rentals?

In unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, particularly within the Coastal Zone, short-term rentals are allowed under specific conditions. Property owners can rent out their homes for short durations (less than 30 days) with a permit and must pay Transient Occupancy Tax. Short-term rentals are permitted only within legal residences zoned for single-family or multi-family residential use within the Coastal Zone​.

Is there any guest record requirement?

There is indeed a tax related to short-term rentals, known as the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). For properties rented out for short-term stays, operators are required to collect and remit a TOT. As of January 1, 2021, the City of San Mateo imposes a TOT rate of 14% on the rent charged by the operator of any structure designed for transient occupancy, which includes short-term rentals. The collected tax must be remitted to the city or designated receiver by the last day of each month

Do i require any license(s) for STR?

In San Mateo County, including its unincorporated areas, you are required to obtain a license or permit to operate a short-term rental (STR). The specific requirements vary depending on the location of your property within the county.

Which tax(es) am i obligated to collect and remit?

If you are operating a short-term rental (STR) in San Mateo County, you are obligated to collect and remit the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). The TOT is a tax imposed on guests who stay in your property for short-term lodging, which is typically defined as stays of less than 30 days.

The City of San Mateo, for example, requires a 14% TOT to be collected by the operator from the guests and remitted to the city. This tax applies to any structure that is occupied or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes. Operators of short-term rentals are also required to obtain a business license and follow specific operating standards to ensure compliance with local regulations​​.

Which tax(es) am i obligated to collect and remit?

If you are operating a short-term rental (STR) in San Mateo County, you are obligated to collect and remit the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). The TOT is a tax imposed on guests who stay in your property for short-term lodging, which is typically defined as stays of less than 30 days.

The City of San Mateo, for example, requires a 14% TOT to be collected by the operator from the guests and remitted to the city. This tax applies to any structure that is occupied or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes. Operators of short-term rentals are also required to obtain a business license and follow specific operating standards to ensure compliance with local regulations​​.

Tax
What ZIP Codes have been prohibited for STR use?

No zip code is prohibited

What types of properties are eligible for short-term rentals?

Short-term rentals are permitted within legal residences on parcels that are zoned for Single Family (R-1) or Multi-Family (R-3) residential use within the Coastal Zone. This is applicable for rentals of less than 30 days, with the requirement of obtaining a permit and paying Transient Occupancy Tax.

The use of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for short-term rentals is prohibited within these regulations.

Does occupancy limit affect STR?

Yes, it does

What STR regulations affect me as an Owner?

As an owner interested in operating short-term rentals (STR) in San Mateo County, you'll need to navigate a variety of regulations that generally include obtaining permits or registration, paying transient occupancy taxes, and adhering to specific operating standards. These requirements aim to ensure guest safety, minimize disturbances in residential areas, and ensure fair taxation. The specifics can vary significantly by location within the county, with different rules for coastal zones, the City of San Mateo, and the City of Redwood City, for example. Compliance is crucial to avoid penalties such as fines or permit revocation. Always check local regulations directly with city or county governments for the most current information and to ensure your STR operation is fully compliant.

What are the procedures or requirements for keeping the guest records?

For properties within the City of San Mateo, the regulations require operators to apply for a short-term rental registration, obtain a business license, complete a transient occupancy tax (TOT) certification form, and adhere to operating standards outlined by the city. These standards include limitations on the number of days a property can be rented out annually when the host is not present on-site, restrictions on the use of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for short-term rentals, and requirements for local contact availability, off-street parking, and occupancy limits. The annual registration fee for a short-term rental in the City of San Mateo is $250​​.

In the unincorporated Coastal Zone of San Mateo County, property owners may legally rent part or all of their home as a short-term rental (less than 30 days) with a permit and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax. This allowance is specifically for legal residences on parcels zoned for Single Family or Multi-Family residential use within the Coastal Zone. The process for obtaining a permit involves a 3-4 week timeframe and an application fee of $300​​​​​​.

Notification
What are the occupancy limits for STR?

Occupancy is limited to 2 people per bedroom or 10 people per property, whichever is less.

Additionally, properties cannot be rented for more than 120 days a year when the hosts are not present on-site. STRs must occur within legal dwelling units, and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) cannot be used for STRs. Properties with three or fewer bedrooms must provide at least one off-street parking space, while those with four or more bedrooms must provide at least two off-street parking spaces

What other STR regulations am i obligated to observe?
  • **Primary Residence. **A primary residence is a dwelling unit where a person has been physically present and that the person regards as home A person may only have one primary residence at any given time.
  • Annual Limit for Unhosted Rentals. A primary residence may be occupied as a short-term rental for no more than 120 days per calendar year where no host is present.
  • **No Limit for Hosted Rentals. **There shall be no limit on the number of days a primary residence may be occupied as a short-term rental where the host is present.
  • **Local Contact Person. **Hosts shall identify a local contact person to be available during the term of an unhosted stay. This person shall respond to complaints.
  • **Parking. **Existing on-site spaces shall be made available to short-term renters.
  • **Special Events. **Special events such as weddings and corporate retreats are prohibited.
  • **Registration. **Registration and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax are required.
What are the penalties and fines for non compliance?

While the exact penalties for non-compliance with STR regulations in San Mateo County were not explicitly listed in the sources reviewed, penalties for similar violations, such as failing to submit required reports or implementing necessary measures, can include significant fines. For example, within the City of San Mateo, failure to comply with certain municipal codes can result in a civil penalty of $1,000.00, plus an additional penalty of $50.00 for each day of non-compliance​​. This gives an indication of how the county might approach non-compliance in general, emphasizing the importance of adhering to local regulations.

Is there any official regulatory body or authority?

Yes

How can i contact the authority?

For properties within the City of San Mateo, the city has hired a consultant, HdL Companies, to administer the short-term rental program. To inquire about short-term rental registration, obtaining a business license, completing a transient occupancy tax certification form, or any related matters, you can contact HdL Companies directly:

  • Telephone Number: (650) 443-9056
  • Email Address: sanmateoTOT@hdlgov.com​​.

You can also report complaints or issues regarding short-term rentals to the Code Enforcement Hotline at (650) 522-7150. For noise disturbances, the non-emergency number for the Police Department is (650) 522-7700.

Which jurisdictions are exempted from the regulations?

There are no specific jurisdictions that are exempted from short-term rental (STR) regulations in San Mateo County.

What are the requirements and fees for the permit (s)?

For properties within the City of San Mateo, the regulations require operators to apply for a short-term rental registration, obtain a business license, complete a transient occupancy tax (TOT) certification form, and adhere to operating standards outlined by the city. These standards include limitations on the number of days a property can be rented out annually when the host is not present on-site, restrictions on the use of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for short-term rentals, and requirements for local contact availability, off-street parking, and occupancy limits. The annual registration fee for a short-term rental in the City of San Mateo is $250​​.

In the unincorporated Coastal Zone of San Mateo County, property owners may legally rent part or all of their home as a short-term rental (less than 30 days) with a permit and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax. This allowance is specifically for legal residences on parcels zoned for Single Family or Multi-Family residential use within the Coastal Zone. The process for obtaining a permit involves a 3-4 week timeframe and an application fee of $300​​​​​​.

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Disclaimer

Lodge compliance is not a licensed tax or financial advisor. Therefore nothing in the above article should be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice. Contact your local tax office for information regarding your personal circumstance.

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