City of San Francisco short-term rental law
Owners and managers can learn more about short term rental requirements, and whether they qualify, through the San Francisco Office of Short-Term Rentals (OSTR). You can also review our frequently asked question below.
Registration Requirements and Process
Who needs to get a Short-Term Rental Certificate?
Under San Francisco’s law governing short-term rentals, owners wishing to operate a short-term rental must obtain a Short-Term Residential Rental Certificate and Business Registration Certificate from the City. Short-term rental is defined as renting a property for less than 30 consecutive nights at a time. Each property that is rented on a short-term basis must be registered with the City.
I only rent my home on a monthly basis, do I need to register or add a certificate number?
Short-term rental requirements apply to properties rented for less than 30 consecutive nights. If you rent your property exclusively for 30 consecutive nights or more, you do not need to register with the City as a short-term rental. You must, however, set your minimum night stay requirement to 30 nights. Please consult the website of the San Francisco Office of Short-Term Rentals to learn more about the City’s rules for rentals of more than 30 consecutive nights.
Where can I learn more about the rules and eligibility requirements?
Owners and managers can learn more about short-term rental requirements, and whether they qualify, through the San Francisco Office of Short-Term Rentals (OSTR).
How do I apply for a Short-Term Rental Certificate?
You can apply for Short-Term Residential Rental Certificate and Business Registration Certificate either through HomeAway’s website, or directly with the City of San Francisco’s Office of Short-Term Rentals.
To complete your application for a certificate via HomeAway’s website, go to your account and select your San Francisco listing - choose “edit listing.” On the “description” tab, look for “first time registration” and click on the “visit registration page” link. The information you provide will be sent to the City for the purpose of applying for a Short-Term Rental Certificate and Business Registration Certificate.
If you obtain a certificate directly from the City, please follow the instructions below to add your certificate number and expiration date to your listing.
I already have Short-Term Rental Certificate, when and where can I enter it on my listing?
If you already have a Short-Term Rental Certificate, you must add your certificate number and its expiration date to a mandatory field on your listing. You may have already included the certificate number in the listing as part of the description or title, but you must also include it in a new mandatory field.
To enter your certificate number and expiration date, go to your account, select your listing, and choose edit listing. On the description tab, look for “first time registration” and click on the “visit registration page” link. On the registration portal you will see an option to enter a certificate number. The format for the Short-Term Rental Certificate number is: STR-#######. An example could be: STR-1234567.
I have applied to the City for my Short-Term Rental Certificate, but have yet to receive my STR number. What can I do to make sure my listing remains live?
If you have an application pending with the City you can note this information in the registration field of our pass-through registration portal. To do this go to your account, select your listing, and choose edit listing. On the description tab, look for “first time registration” and click on the “visit registration page” link. On the registration portal you will see an option to enter a certificate number. In this field add the words “Application Pending”. Add the current date in the expiration date field. You must return to the pass-through registration portal to add you STR certificate number when you receive it from the City.
If you have an application pending with the City, but did not provide that information before a deadline that resulted in your listing being removed from HomeAway, you will need to add this information as noted above and then contact CS to reinstate your listing.
When is the deadline for existing properties to go through the registration process?
Registration via HomeAway’s website will be introduced in a phased process. You will be informed of the specific deadline that applies to you.
How much does it cost to register?
The City charges a $250 non-refundable application fee for your Short-Term Residential Rental Certificate. If approved, your application is good for two years. If denied, your $250 application fee is not refundable.
I have multiple listings in San Francisco, do I need to complete registration for all of them?
You must complete HomeAway’s online registration process, or provide a certificate number and expiration date in the mandatory field, for each property in San Francisco that you wish to rent on a short-term basis. Under the law, owners can rent out their primary residence only, which is where they live for a minimum of 275 nights per year.
What if I need to change any information I submitted as part of the registration process?
Contact OSTR directly if you need to make any changes.
Registration Approval, Denial and Renewal
What happens while I wait for my registration to be approved?
If you have applied via HomeAway’s registration portal, you can continue to list and book as usual while the City processes your application. “Registration pending” will appear on your listing while the City is processing your application.
What happens to my listing if I do not register?
Listings for properties without a registration number or “registration pending” status by the applicable deadline will be removed from HomeAway’s websites.
What happens when my registration application is approved?
The City will inform you once a decision has been made about your application. If your application is approved, HomeAway will update your listing to include your certificate number.
What happens if my registration application is not approved?
If the City does not approve your application for a certificate, or if it revokes a certificate, you may file a written appeal within thirty days from the date of the notice of rejection or revocation. For further information, please review these procedures. If your application is not approved or is revoked, your listing will be removed from HomeAway’s websites. In addition, future traveler bookings will be cancelled, and funds controlled by HomeAway will be returned to the traveler.
What are the reasons the City would reject my registration?
The City can reject your application if you do not meet eligibility requirements. These requirements can be reviewed here.
Do I need to renew my registration?
You can review how to stay compliant with rule and requirements here. You need to renew your registration certificate every year with the Treasurer & Tax Collector. You also need to renew your Residential Rental Certificate every two years.