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Fullerton Short Term Rental Regulation: A Guide For Airbnb Hosts

Fullerton, California

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

In California, short-term rentals (STRs) are subject to various rules and regulations that can vary by city and county. While the state provides a general framework for STRs, local authorities are responsible for implementing their own regulations within their jurisdictions

Starting a Short Term Rental Business in Fullerton

To commence a short-term rental (STR) business in Fullerton, it is essential to navigate the city's stringent regulations. The City of Fullerton has specific rules for boarding houses and bed and breakfast inns, but it does not clearly define short-term vacation rentals in its zoning code, particularly in Single-Family (R-1) zones1.

This ambiguity has made the process of starting an STR business in Fullerton more challenging compared to other cities. The city has banned whole-home rentals and requires all hosts to register and pay taxes, with fines imposed for violations2. The permits for short-term rentals are non-transferable and become void upon a change in property ownership2.

Despite these regulations, some hosts operate under the radar, while others advise against starting an STR business in Fullerton and suggest investing in more accommodating markets2.

Short Term Rental Licensing Requirement in Fullerton

In Fullerton, California, the City Council has implemented stringent regulations on short-term rentals (STRs), particularly whole-home rentals. The council voted to ban whole-home rentals for periods of fewer than 30 days, effectively prohibiting the use of platforms like Airbnb for such purposes1. To operate an STR in Fullerton, hosts are required to obtain a city permit, which is non-transferable and becomes void when the property ownership changes3.

The city strictly enforces these rules, requiring all hosts to register and pay taxes, and issuing fines for violations3. Additionally, Fullerton charges a 10% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and a 3% Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) assessment on the rental income3. The regulations have been a topic of debate, with some residents and organizations supporting the restrictions, while others have expressed concerns about the impact on property ownership and local businesses1.

The process of obtaining a permit for an STR in Fullerton has been a point of discussion among potential hosts. Some individuals have reported challenges in securing permits, with a limited number of licenses available and a growing demand for them4. Despite the restrictions, there are still opportunities for STRs in Fullerton, particularly for those willing to navigate the regulatory landscape and comply with the city's requirements4.

In summary, Fullerton's STR regulations are designed to control the use of residential properties for short-term accommodation, with a focus on preserving the character of neighborhoods and ensuring compliance with tax and licensing obligations. Hosts interested in operating an STR in Fullerton should be prepared to navigate a complex regulatory environment and adhere to the city's stringent requirements.

Required Documents for Fullerton Short Term Rentals

To apply for a short-term rental permit in Fullerton, hosts need to provide proof of primary residency, floor plans showing all bedrooms, a parking plan, 24/7 contact information, and a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) certificate4. Fullerton requires all short-term rentals to obtain a city permit starting in December 2020, and it has set the number of whole houses that could be rented for short terms1.

The city initially limited the amount of STRs in Fullerton to 325, but it chose to reduce that number further to 100 in 20213. The permits are non-transferable and become void when the property ownership changes4. Fullerton charges a 10% Transient Occupancy Tax that all short-term rental hosts must collect, and there is also a 3% Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) assessment4.The city of Fullerton strictly enforces short-term rental rules and has banned whole-home rentals. The city requires all hosts to register and pay taxes, issues fines for violations, and has restricted STRs more than many California cities9. Fullerton has regulations for boarding houses, as well as bed and breakfast inns, but neither of these uses are allowed in Single-Family (R-1) zones. Short-term vacation rentals are not a clearly defined use, and the Municipal Code does not even in R-1 zones, provided it is not more than three rooms5.According to a Bigger Pockets post, Fullerton homeowners need to apply for a permit to do short-term rentals, and the city is not issuing new permits6.

However, an agent who is helping clients manage short-term rentals said that the licenses are running out but still can apply for it. She charges 20% of annual rent as a property management fee. Midterm rent over 30 days does not require a permit, though6.To legally operate a short-term rental in Fullerton, hosts need to ensure that their property qualifies by meeting spacing, parking, and other requirements. They also need to obtain an Owner-Occupied Short-Term Rental Permit4.

Fullerton Short Term Rental Taxes

Fullerton charges a 10% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) that all short-term rental hosts must collect and remit. There is also a 3% Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) assessment. The city has set the number of whole houses that could be rented for short terms, and it has imposed restrictions and regulations on such rentals.

Fullerton strictly enforces short-term rental rules and has banned whole-home rentals. The city requires all hosts to register and pay taxes, issues fines for violations, and has restricted STRs more than many California cities. The city has placed a measure to increase sales tax in front of voters, labeled Measure S. According to city staff, without the new tax, the city will face a budget deficit.

The Fullerton City Council voted 4-1 to approve regulations on short-term rentals (STRs) such as Airbnb. The city requires all short-term rentals to obtain a city permit, and it has set the number of whole houses that could be rented for short terms. The city has regulations for boarding houses, as well as bed and breakfast inns. Neither of these uses is allowed in Single-Family (R-1) zones, but short-term vacation rentals are allowed in R-1 zones, provided it is not more than three rooms.

To start a short-term rental business in Fullerton, operators must obtain a city permit, pay the initial permit fee and annual renewal fee, and ensure compliance with Good Neighbor Guidelines, including trash collection, parking restrictions, safety policies, and noise limitations. To inquire about short-term rental regulations and zoning in Fullerton, individuals can contact the Department of Community and Economic Development.

California Wide Short Term Rental Rules

In Fullerton, California, the regulations on short-term rentals (STRs) have undergone significant changes. The Fullerton City Council voted to ban whole-home rentals for periods of fewer than 30 days, effectively prohibiting the rental of entire homes through platforms like Airbnb1. Additionally, the city has introduced taxes for short-term rentals based on nightly rates and has imposed limitations on the total number of whole-home rentals available, along with creating additional standards1.

The regulations also require all short-term rentals to obtain a city permit, with a violation resulting in a misdemeanor12. The city has strictly enforced these rules, with fines for non-compliance.The regulations have been a topic of debate, with some residents and organizations supporting the amendments, while others have expressed concerns about the impact on property owners and the local economy12. The Fullerton City Council has approved an amendment to the city ordinance, limiting short-term rentals to specific spaces within homes and recommending a one-year grace period for property owners to make the necessary adjustments1. These changes reflect a trend seen in several other cities in Orange County, where regulations on short-term rentals have been tightened2.

Overall, the regulations in Fullerton, California, have significantly restricted the operation of short-term rentals, particularly whole-home rentals, and have been rigorously enforced by the city authorities. The impact of these regulations on the local economy and property owners continues to be a subject of debate and concern among residents and stakeholders.

Does Fullerton Strictly Enforce STR Rules?

In California, short-term rentals (STRs) are subject to statewide regulations, but local jurisdictions may also impose additional criteria or restrictions. Here are some key points about California's short-term rental rules:

Statewide Definition of STRs: California defines a short-term rental as a residential property rented out for periods of less than 30 consecutive days2.

Federal Tax Implications: The United States government considers a property as a short-term rental business if it is rented out for a minimum of 14 calendar days each year and the property is used personally for no more than 14 calendar days (or more than 10% of the time that the property is occupied in a calendar year)1.

Local Interpretations: While the state provides a broad definition for STRs, local jurisdictions may have their own specific criteria that define and regulate STRs. This can include distinct differences in zoning laws, permitting requirements, and other restrictions2.

Examples of Local Regulations: Some cities, like Los Angeles, limit short-term rentals to 120 days per year4. In San Diego, short-term rentals are divided into four license types with different restrictions, such as Tier 1 for part-time rentals with no more than 20 days per year and Tier 2 for home-sharing rentals with the owner or permanent resident residing on site3.

In summary, California has statewide short-term rental rules, but local jurisdictions may impose additional regulations. It is essential for property owners to be familiar with both statewide and local guidelines to ensure compliance with all relevant laws.

How to Start a Short Term Rental Business in Fullerton?

Starting a short-term rental (STR) business in Fullerton is possible, but it requires adhering to strict regulations and guidelines. Here are the steps to legally operate a short-term rental in Fullerton:

Ensure your property qualifies: Make sure your property meets the spacing, parking, and other requirements set by the city1.

Obtain an Owner-Occupied Short-Term Rental Permit: Fullerton requires all short-term rentals to obtain a city permit before operating1. The permits are non-transferable and become void when the property ownership changes1.

Provide required documents: To apply for a short-term rental permit, hosts need to provide the following documents1:

  • Proof of primary residency
  • Floor plans showing all bedrooms
  • Parking plan
  • 24/7 contact information
  • Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) certificate

Pay the initial permit fee and annual renewal fee: There are fees associated with obtaining and maintaining a short-term rental permit in Fullerton1.

Comply with Good Neighbor Guidelines: Ensure compliance with guidelines such as trash collection, parking restrictions, safety policies, and noise limitations1.

Keep in mind that Fullerton has banned whole-home rentals and strictly enforces short-term rental rules1. Some hosts operate under the radar despite the tight regulations, but it is advisable not to start a short-term rental business in Fullerton and instead invest in more permissive cities1.

Who to Contact in Fullerton About Short Term Rental Regulations and Zoning?

Contact the Fullerton Community Development Department at (714) 738-6543 or comdev@cityoffullerton.com regarding short term rental zoning and permit questions9.

Contact the Fullerton Finance Department at (714) 738-6317 or finance@cityoffullerton.com for information on Transient Occupancy Taxes.

What Do Airbnb Hosts in Fullerton on Reddit and BiggerPockets Think About Local Regulations?

Airbnb hosts in Fullerton have expressed concerns about the city's strict regulations, which have significantly reduced the number of viable hosting opportunities.

The city's requirement for short-term rental permits, adherence to Good Neighbor Guidelines, and limitations on the number of STRs have made it challenging for hosts to operate within the legal framework13.In a discussion on the Airbnb Community forum, a host highlighted the impending strict regulations in Fullerton, indicating that the new rules would substantially impact the number of potential hosts2.

This sentiment is echoed in a blog post, which states that Fullerton strictly enforces short-term rental rules, leading many to advise against starting an STR business in the city3.The Fullerton City Council's approval of regulations for short-term rentals in 2020 further reflects the city's commitment to enforcing stringent rules5.

As a result, some hosts have resorted to operating "under the radar" to bypass the tight regulations, while others have cautioned against investing in short-term rentals in Fullerton due to the challenging regulatory environment3.

Overall, the feedback from Airbnb hosts on platforms like Reddit and BiggerPockets suggests that Fullerton's STR regulations have posed significant obstacles for hosts, leading to a less favorable environment for operating Airbnb properties compared to other cities in the region.

⚡️
Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.