Fontana Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Fontana, California

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Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Fontana

The City of Fontana has specific regulations for short-term rentals (STRs) like Airbnb and VRBO. There are two categories of STRs in Fontana: Vacation Rental Homes and Tourist Rooming Houses. Both require proper applications, state and local permits, inspections, and monthly reporting of room tax12.

To start an STR business in Fontana, you first need to determine if your property is eligible under the city's zoning code. Residential uses are generally allowed, but exceptions may apply. You must also have an existing or proposed single-family home on the property or an existing multi-family building like a triplex or apartment15.

Next, you need to apply for the required permits before listing your property on sites like Airbnb or VRBO. You cannot operate an STR until all state and city requirements have been met and a Fontana STR license has been issued. This involves completing an online application through the Granicus/Host Compliance website and paying the associated fees24.

The initial application fee in Fontana is $667. A Code Enforcement Officer will then conduct an exterior inspection to verify compliance. The applicant must also submit a self-certification checklist for the interior. Once approved, the permit is valid for one year. Annual renewal requires a $600 fee and re-inspection1314.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Fontana

Operating a short-term rental in Fontana without the proper permit is illegal under local law. You must apply for and receive an STR permit prior to listing or renting out your property on a short-term basis (less than 30 days). The city will not issue a permit until you have met all of the state and local requirements2.

The permitting process involves submitting an online application with supporting documentation, passing interior and exterior inspections to verify compliance, and paying the initial application fee. Permits must be renewed annually, which requires an additional fee and re-inspection917.

Failure to obtain or renew the required STR permit can result in fines of $1,000 per day that the property is operating without a valid permit. The city has increased its code enforcement staffing to help identify and penalize unpermitted short-term rentals719.

Required Documents for Fontana Short Term Rentals

When applying for an STR permit in Fontana, you must submit the following through the online Granicus/Host Compliance portal249:

  • Completed STR permit application
  • Valid Annual Village of Fontana Tourist Rooming House License for the property
  • Proof of STR liability insurance stating the property will be used as a Tourist Rooming House or short-term rental
  • Signed Owner Acknowledgement and Operational Requirements form
  • Completed Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) registration
  • Site plan/plot plan showing parking and property layout
  • Application fee payment

Once a complete application package is submitted, the city will schedule an exterior inspection of the property. The owner/applicant must also complete a self-certification checklist for the interior. If everything meets the requirements, the permit is typically issued after a 30-day appeal period917.

Fontana Short Term Rental Taxes

The City of Fontana imposes a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) of 12.5% on short-term rentals of 30 nights or less. This tax is based on the listing price including any cleaning fees. STR operators must register to collect and remit the TOT on a monthly basis31318.

Failure to properly report and pay the required room tax can result in the city denying or revoking an STR permit. It's estimated Fontana could have collected around $100,000 in TOT revenue from short-term rentals in 2022 alone, so the city is making tax collection and enforcement a priority27.

As an STR operator, you are responsible for understanding and complying with all applicable tax laws. This includes potential income tax obligations on your rental revenue. It's a good idea to consult with a tax professional to ensure you are meeting all requirements18.

Fontana-wide Short Term Rental Rules

In addition to the permitting and tax collection requirements, Fontana has enacted several citywide rules for short-term rentals aimed at minimizing negative impacts on neighborhoods. Some key provisions include2412:

  • Minimum rental period of 7 consecutive days by one party for Tourist Rooming Houses
  • Maximum occupancy limits based on dwelling size, up to 12 guests
  • On-site parking requirements - all STR parking must be on the property, not on streets
  • Quiet hours from 10pm-7am, with restrictions on noise, lighting, odors, traffic, etc.
  • Owners/property managers must provide a 24/7 contact number to the city and renters for complaints
  • Renters must receive a copy of the "Good Neighbor Brochure" and sign an acknowledgement of the rules
  • No special events like weddings or large parties allowed without separate permits
  • Trash must be properly stored and disposed of regularly

Violations are subject to fines that escalate with repeat offenses within a 12-month period, from $1,000 for a first violation up to $5,00019. Three violations in 12 months can result in permit revocation. The city has a 24/7 hotline for neighbors to report issues with STRs29.

Does Fontana strictly enforce STR rules?

Based on discussions from STR hosts and property managers on BiggerPockets and Reddit, it appears Fontana does actively enforce its short-term rental regulations, with unlicensed rentals subject to $1,000 per day fines11141619. The city has increased its code enforcement staffing and contracted with an outside firm to help identify and monitor unpermitted STRs217.

Compared to some California cities, Fontana seems to take a stricter approach to regulating short-term rentals. While legal STRs are allowed, the city has put significant effort into preventing "party houses" and absentee landlords from operating unlicensed rentals that generate neighborhood complaints619.

However, some hosts on real estate forums note that many STRs still operate illegally in Fontana to avoid the permit fees and taxes. The city is working to rein this in through increased enforcement and penalties. But with high demand for STRs in the area, it remains a challenge1416.

Overall, Fontana's official position is that short-term rentals can operate if they follow the established rules. But the city doesn't hesitate to crack down on "bad actors" and unlicensed rentals that cause issues. So while not the easiest market, responsible hosts willing to comply with the regulations can still run successful STRs.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Fontana

Here are the key steps to legally start an STR in Fontana124917:

  • Confirm your property is eligible under the zoning code and minimum requirements
  • Obtain a valid City of Fontana Tourist Rooming House License
  • Complete the online STR permit application and pay the $667 fee
  • Provide all required documentation (TOT registration, insurance, site plan, owner acknowledgement form)
  • Schedule and pass the exterior inspection; complete the interior self-certification checklist
  • Wait for permit issuance after the 30-day appeal period
  • Ensure your STR follows all local rules (occupancy, parking, noise, rental terms, etc.)
  • Provide guests with the "Good Neighbor Brochure" and have them sign the rules acknowledgement
  • Collect and remit 12.5% TOT and any other applicable taxes
  • Renew the STR permit annually for $600 and maintain compliance with all requirements

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

For questions about Fontana's STR program, permits, or zoning, contact:

City of Fontana Community Development Department
Planning Division

8353 Sierra Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335
Phone: (909) 350-6718

For complaints about STR violations or issues, contact:

City of Fontana Short-Term Rental 24/7 Hotline
Phone: 1-833-SBC-STR1 (1-833-722-7871)

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

On BiggerPockets, some investors discuss the profitability of rental properties in the Fontana area, but there is limited discussion of the city's specific STR regulations. A few hosts mention that San Bernardino County (which includes Fontana) began allowing STRs again in May 2020 after COVID-19 closures, with some restrictions like single-household occupancy. But most seem more focused on long-term rentals1416.

Reddit has a few threads related to STRs in the Inland Empire region, but not much commentary specific to Fontana's ordinances. Some hosts note that demand for STRs has grown in the area, but also acknowledge the increasing regulations and enforcement. There are concerns that unlicensed rentals are still common and undercutting legal operators12.

One host on BiggerPockets shared their experience operating a permitted STR in Fontana. They said the process to get approved was very thorough, with inspections and a lot of documentation required. But once licensed, they found it to be a profitable investment. Their biggest advice was to carefully screen guests, set clear rules, and be a responsible manager to avoid complaints16.

Another Fontana STR owner on Reddit cautioned that the city is getting stricter and neighbors are increasingly reporting issues like noise and parking. They recommended having a local manager to quickly respond to any problems, as well as using tech tools to monitor the property. Proactive communication with guests and neighbors was also key12.

However, these anecdotes are relatively limited, as most discussion of Fontana's STR market is speculative rather than from active hosts. The city's official sources provide the clearest information on the actual regulations and requirements.

Overall, it seems operating a short-term rental in Fontana is viable for responsible owners willing to follow the permit process and regulations. But the city's enforcement efforts and some community opposition mean hosts must be proactive to avoid problems. Careful compliance and hands-on management appear to be important for STR success in Fontana.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.