Buena Park Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Buena Park, California

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What are short term rental (Airbnb, VRBO) regulations in Buena Park,California?

Buena Park has recently implemented a comprehensive set of regulations governing short-term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb and VRBO. These rules aim to strike a balance between allowing responsible home-sharing and preserving the character of residential neighborhoods. Here's a straightforward overview of Buena Park's short-term rental regulations:

Permit Requirement: Operating an STR in Buena Park requires obtaining a Short-Term Rental Permit from the city. This permit is valid for three years and must be renewed with a $300 fee every three years. Hosts must also obtain a business license categorized as "Hotels, Motels and Apartments," costing $22.50 per year plus a $10 zoning compliance fee.

Primary Residence Only: Buena Park only allows homeowners to rent out portions of their primary residence for stays under 30 days. Whole-home rentals are strictly prohibited, meaning hosts must live on-site to operate an STR legally.

Occupancy Limits: The maximum occupancy for an STR is two adults per bedroom plus two additional adults. For example, a three-bedroom home can accommodate a maximum of eight adults.

Spacing Requirements: STRs must be spaced at least 300 feet (approximately six lots) apart from each other. This spacing rule aims to prevent the over-concentration of short-term rentals in residential areas.

Quiet Hours and Events: Quiet hours are enforced from 10 PM to 7 AM. Commercial events like weddings or parties are not permitted at STRs.

Parking and Vehicles: Hosts must provide details on the maximum number of vehicles and designated parking spots for their rental property.

Insurance and Safety: Proof of $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage is required for all STRs. Hosts must also provide a floor plan sketch identifying sleeping areas, evacuation routes, and fire extinguisher locations.

Taxes: All STR owners in Buena Park must remit a 12% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is the same tax paid by hotels.

Buena Park's short-term rental regulations are designed to ensure that these rental properties operate safely and do not disrupt the peace and tranquility of residential neighborhoods. Hosts who fail to comply with these rules risk fines and potential revocation of their permit.

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Buena Park

Nestled in the heart of Orange County, Buena Park has recently opened its doors to the exciting world of short-term rentals (STRs). If you're a homeowner seeking a new stream of income or an entrepreneur looking to tap into the lucrative vacation rental market, this city offers a unique opportunity to turn your property into a thriving hospitality business.

Buena Park's progressive approach to STRs allows homeowners to rent out portions of their primary residence for stays under 30 days. This means you can transform your spare bedroom, guest house, or even a portion of your home into a cozy retreat for travelers seeking an authentic local experience.

However, it's important to note that whole-home rentals are currently prohibited in Buena Park. This regulation ensures that the city maintains a balance between fostering tourism and preserving the character of its residential neighborhoods.

Imagine the possibilities: You could welcome guests from around the world, sharing your local knowledge and creating unforgettable experiences. From families seeking a home away from home to solo adventurers exploring Southern California's attractions, your short-term rental could become a sought-after destination.

But before you dive into this exciting venture, it's crucial to understand and comply with Buena Park's regulations. By following the city's guidelines, you'll not only ensure a smooth operation but also contribute to the responsible growth of the STR industry in your community.

So, if you're ready to embark on this entrepreneurial journey, buckle up and get ready to unlock the potential of your property. With the right mindset, attention to detail, and a commitment to providing exceptional hospitality, you could soon be part of Buena Park's thriving short-term rental community.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Buena Park

To legally operate a short-term rental in Buena Park, homeowners must go through a straightforward yet comprehensive licensing process. At the heart of this process lies the Short-Term Rental Permit, a crucial document that serves as the city's stamp of approval for your vacation rental business.

Acquiring this permit is a multi-step journey that begins with a thorough application. Homeowners must provide two forms of identification, such as a driver's license or utility bills, to establish their residency at the rental property. This step ensures that only primary residents can engage in short-term renting, aligning with Buena Park's commitment to preserving the character of its neighborhoods.

In addition to the permit application, hosts must obtain a business license specifically categorized as "Hotels, Motels and Apartments." This license not only legitimizes your short-term rental operation but also ensures compliance with local regulations and taxation requirements.

The financial investment in obtaining these licenses is modest yet essential. The Short-Term Rental Permit carries a $300 fee, which must be renewed every three years. Meanwhile, the business license costs $22.50 annually, plus a one-time $10 zoning compliance fee.

Homeowners should view these fees not as burdens but as investments in the long-term success and legitimacy of their short-term rental endeavors. By adhering to Buena Park's licensing requirements, hosts can operate with confidence, knowing that their businesses are fully compliant with local ordinances.

Ultimately, the licensing process in Buena Park is designed to strike a balance between fostering a thriving short-term rental industry and preserving the city's unique character. By navigating this process diligently, homeowners can unlock the potential of their properties while contributing to the local economy and upholding the highest standards of responsible hosting.

Required Documents for Buena Park Short Term Rentals

Navigating the paperwork for a Buena Park short-term rental can seem daunting, but don't worry - we've got you covered. To obtain your permit, you'll need to provide a comprehensive set of documents that clearly outline the details of your rental property. Let's break it down:

  • Proof of Identity and Residency: You'll need to furnish two forms of identification, such as a driver's license or voter registration card, along with utility bills or other documentation that confirms your name and the address of the rental property. This step is crucial to verify that you are, in fact, a resident of Buena Park and the owner of the property you wish to rent out.
  • Floor Plan and Property Details: A detailed floor plan sketch is required, highlighting the sleeping areas, maximum guest capacity, evacuation routes, and the locations of fire extinguishers. Additionally, you'll need to provide the square footage of the rental space and specify the maximum number of vehicles allowed, along with designated parking spots.
  • HOA Approval (if applicable): If your property is part of a homeowners' association, you'll need to obtain a letter of no objection from the HOA, granting you permission to operate a short-term rental on the premises.
  • Liability Insurance: To safeguard your business and guests, you must provide proof of liability insurance coverage with a minimum of $1,000,000 in protection. This insurance policy will shield you from potential legal and financial risks associated with operating a short-term rental.
  • Rental Agreement and House Rules: You'll need to submit a standard rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions for guests staying at your property. Additionally, Buena Park requires that you include a set of "house rules" that cover important aspects such as quiet hours, event restrictions, and guidelines for fireworks usage.

By meticulously preparing and submitting these required documents, you'll demonstrate your commitment to operating a compliant and responsible short-term rental business in Buena Park. Don't hesitate to reach out to the city's planning division if you have any questions or need further guidance throughout the application process.

Buena Park Short Term Rental Taxes

Operating a short-term rental in Buena Park comes with a tax obligation that hosts must comply with. All short-term rental owners are required to remit a 12% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to the city.

12This 12% TOT rate is the same tax levied on hotels and other traditional lodging establishments in Buena Park. The TOT essentially treats short-term rentals as a form of temporary lodging, similar to a hotel stay.

Failure to pay the TOT can result in penalties and fines from the city. Hosts must carefully track their bookings and rental income to properly calculate and remit the 12% tax.

The TOT revenue collected from short-term rentals helps fund city services and operations that all Buena Park residents benefit from. It ensures short-term rental operators are contributing their fair share, just as hotels do.

For hosts, the 12% TOT is simply an operating cost they must account for when pricing their rental rates and managing their short-term rental business in Buena Park. Clear communication of the tax to guests is advisable to avoid any confusion.

Buena Park wide Short Term Rental Rules

Occupancy Limits

  • Maximum occupancy is 2 adults per bedroom plus 2 additional adults. Children under 18 are not counted towards the maximum.

Noise Restrictions

  • Quiet hours are enforced from 10pm to 7am. Unreasonable noise, disturbances, or disorderly conduct that violates noise laws is prohibited.

Event Restrictions

  • Commercial events like weddings, auctions, or similar functions are not permitted at short-term rentals.


  • Discharging fireworks is only allowed on July 4th between the hours of 10am and 10pm.


  • Limousines, buses, or vehicles that obstruct emergency access are not allowed to park or stop without the driver present.

Property Maintenance

  • The rental property and surrounding areas must be kept free of debris at all times.

Spacing Requirements

  • Short-term rentals must be spaced at least 300 feet apart, approximately 6 residential lots.123

Accessory Dwellings

  • Accessory dwelling units like granny flats or guest houses cannot be used as short-term rentals.3

By adhering to these straightforward rules and regulations, short-term rental hosts in Buena Park can ensure they operate in compliance with local laws while being respectful of the surrounding community.

Does Buena Park strictly enforce STR rules?” Is Buena Park Airbnb friendly?

Buena Park is cracking down hard on illegal short-term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb and VRBO. The city has partnered with third-party firm Host Compliance to identify and penalize hosts operating without the required permits.5

While some hosts continued renting during Buena Park's previous moratorium on STRs, the new regulations make it clear - the city is not messing around. Strict new rules prohibit whole-home rentals, require owner-occupancy, and mandate a minimum 300-foot spacing between permitted STRs, severely limiting the number that can operate.125

Compared to other cities in the region, Buena Park is taking a firm stance against illegal short-term rentals. The consensus from local hosts on forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets is that Buena Park's rules and enforcement make it one of the least Airbnb-friendly cities in the area.5 Hosts looking to maximize rental income would be wise to look elsewhere.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Buena Park

Getting started as an Airbnb or vacation rental host in Buena Park requires following the city's regulations precisely. Here are the clear-cut steps to legally operate a short-term rental in Buena Park:

  • Confirm Eligibility: Ensure you live on the property as your primary residence. Whole-home rentals are prohibited - you can only rent out portions of your home while residing there.
  • Gather Documents: Compile the required paperwork like IDs, floor plans showing sleeping areas and evacuation routes, parking details, HOA approval if applicable, rental agreement with Buena Park's house rules, and proof of $1 million liability insurance coverage.
  • Apply for Permit: Submit the Short Term Rental Permit application online along with the $300 application fee and $100 inspection fee. The city will review and grant conditional approval if requirements are met.
  • Obtain Business License: After conditional permit approval, acquire a Buena Park business license categorized as "Hotels, Motels and Apartments" for $22.50 per year plus a $10 zoning fee.
  • Pass Inspection: Schedule and pass the city's physical inspection of your rental space. Any building code violations must be corrected first.
  • Start Operating: Once fully permitted and licensed, you can begin accepting short-term rental bookings. Be sure to remit Buena Park's 12% Transient Occupancy Tax on all rental income.

Follow these steps meticulously to ensure your short-term rental business in Buena Park operates within the regulations. The city is cracking down on illegal rentals, so compliance is essential from the very start.

Who to contact in Buena Park about Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

When it comes to navigating the intricate world of short-term rental regulations in Buena Park, the Community Development Department's Planning Division is your one-stop shop. This dedicated team of professionals is well-versed in the city's ordinances and zoning laws, ensuring that you have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Conveniently located at 6650 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA 90622, the Planning Division welcomes inquiries from both aspiring and seasoned short-term rental hosts. Whether you're seeking guidance on the application process, clarification on specific rules, or have general questions about operating a legal short-term rental, their knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you.

Don't hesitate to reach out to them via phone at (714) 562-3619 or visit their website at This user-friendly online resource provides a wealth of information, including downloadable forms, fee schedules, and a comprehensive overview of the city's short-term rental regulations.

What do Airbnb hosts in Buena Park on Reddit and Bigger Pockets think about local regulations?

Buena Park's new short-term rental regulations have sparked a mix of reactions from local Airbnb hosts on online forums like Reddit and Bigger Pockets. While some appreciate the city's efforts to regulate the industry, others voice concerns that the rules could make operating a profitable Airbnb business challenging.

On the Bigger Pockets real estate investing forum, a recurring theme is the potentially high costs associated with Buena Park's permit fees and requirements. One host lamented, "We're not getting rich on this, so if our fees are too high, we can't afford to maintain these rentals properly." With a $300 permit fee every 3 years, plus additional costs for insurance, inspections, and taxes, some worry the overhead could eat into already slim profit margins.

Reddit discussions highlight the 300-foot spacing requirement as a particularly contentious rule. "The city council decided against setting a limit on the number of hosts, though the new spacing rule — about a football field between rentals — figures to limit the number of operators in town," one Redditor pointed out. This regulation could severely restrict the number of legal short-term rentals allowed in Buena Park's residential areas.

Some hosts begrudgingly accept the new rules as the price of operating legally, while others question if the city has gone too far in appeasing residents worried about noise and parking issues. "I get they're trying to cut down on party houses, but making everyone jump through all these hoops seems excessive," wrote one Bigger Pockets user.

Overall, many Buena Park Airbnb hosts seem resigned to following the new regulations, though concerns about profitability and over-regulation linger. As one host summed it up, "I'll bite the bullet and get permitted, but they'd better be reasonable with enforcement. This is how people make a living."

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.