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Changing Vacation Rental Laws in Santa Cruz City

This just in: this Thursday, June 29th, at 7:00 p.m. the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission will consider new rules to govern short-term vacation rentals (included Airbnb and VRBO properties). The Planning Commission is taking a long, hard look at the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz City. Their decisions will have a direct impact on propertyowner’s ability to take part in the vacation rental program in the City.


The City Planning Commission elected an 11-member Subcommittee to research short-rerm rentals in Santa Cruz county. This was in response to growing concerns that rental housing was diminishing through the conversion of long- to short-term rentals. This Subcommittee has generated a draft ordinance and is seeking input from the Planning Commission during a public meeting held on June 29th.  You can read more about the Subcommittee, their findings, and the draft ordinance here.


New regulations, offered by both the Subcommittee and CityPlanning Department staff working on this issue include:

  • Capping all new vacation rentals at an additional 100
  • Requiring permit renewal every five years
  • Limiting the number of permits to one person/entity
  • Imposing substantial fines for violations

According to the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors, vacation rentals account for less than 1% of housing in the city. Furthermore, most vacation and AIRBNB rentals would not be “affordable” units if were converted into long-term rentals. On the other side of the argument, argues that short-term rentals such Airbnb units push up rental costs by reducing long-term rental inventory. They also state that short-term rentals are closer to 5% of all housing when accounting for un-registered short-term rentals.


If you are a homeowner or investor interested in renting your spare bedroom using Airbnb or applying for a vacation rental permit in the future, know that this meeting could have a direct impact on your plans.


Interested in attending? Here are the details:

When: 7 p.m., Thursday.

Where: Santa Cruz City Hall, 809 Center St.

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