Frequently Asked Questions for Short Term Rental / Vacation Rental Permits

1. How much does a Short Term Rental (STR) / Vacation Rental Permit Cost:

As of July 1, 2020 the following fees apply:

  • New Non-Owner Occupied Short Term Rental Permit: $321.00
  • New Owner-Occupied Short Term Rental Permit: $270.00
  • Renewal of Existing Permit - Non-Owner / Owner Occupied - $218.00

There is no pro-rating of time or fees. In additional all STRs are required to have a Business Tax Certificate which costs $64 annually. This will be collected with your permit application. 

2. When does a Short Term Rental (STR) permit expire?
STR permits expire annually on July 31. A renewal application with annual renewal fee will need
to be submitted, along with a self-certification form.

3. Is there a "cap" on the number of Short-Term Rental (STR) permits within the city?
Yes there is a cap for "non-owner" occupied, meaning you as the homeowner, is not present during the stay. The maximum number of permits issued includes the following:

  • A total of 40 units will be permitted within the coastal zone. Generally these
    are properties located west of North 4th Street and South 5th Street. 
  • A total of 60 units will be permitted
    outside of the coastal zone. Generally these are properties located east of North 4th Street and South 5th
    Street. You can view if your property is in the coastal zone by clicking this link.

If you are an Owner-Occupied permit holder (meaning you rent rooms, and are staying at your residence during the duration of a short term renter's visit, there is no limit on the number of STR permits.

4. I operated a Vacation Rental / Short Term Rental (STR) in the past,  am I guaranteed a permit?
No, a STR permit is not guaranteed.  Permits will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis

5. Where can I get basic information on my property?
You can use the following link and click on Grover Beach Zoning Map. You can then type in your address and view the size of your lot, the zone, and whether it is in the coastal zone or not.

6. What does "legal dwelling unit" mean?
A legal dwelling unit is a structure, or portion of a structure, that was issued a building permit for habitable area for residential purposes. The Short-Term Rental Ordinance Section 4.10.185.B. allows for short term rental / vacation rental units in a single family dwelling or mobile home, multi-family dwellings, and dwellings within a mixed-use project. STRs are prohibited in live-work units, caretaker units, accessory dwelling units (unless existing, under construction, or in plan review prior to June 17, 2019), residences subject to an affordable housing covenant or deed restriction, use of outdoor camping tents on private property, and any type of vehicle (i.e. recreational vehicle, motor home, travel trailer, truck campers, tent trailers, boats).

7. How can I tell if I have a "legal dwelling unit" or how do I get more information on my property?
You can come to City Hall and request to see your "street file," This file contains information on your property that the City has, including floor plans, site plans, etc. In some instances, the City does not have this information. If it does not, you may need to go to the San Luis Obispo County Assessor's Office in San Luis Obispo, and obtain a "residential building record." This can only be obtained if you are the property owner, and in person.

8. I have done modifications to my home that includes adding bedrooms, converting my garage or workshop, or a granny unit without a building permit. Can I still get a Short Term Renal Permit(STR)?
City staff will be verifying all submitted floor plans and site plans to confirm that it was legally constructed consistent with City building permits. Any unpermitted work such as additions, conversions, or unpermitted accessory dwelling units that are discovered during this review will cause your application to be rejected and will result in a code enforcement investigation that could result in restoring the area
to its previously permitted use or demolition if it cannot meet Zoning and Building Code requirements. If you have questions regarding construction, please contact the Community Development Department at (805) 473-4520.

9. Where do I get a copy of Conditions, Covenants &Restrictions (CC&Rs) or Home Owners Association regulations?
You should have been issued a copy of these with your deed or escrow papers. If you need to obtain additional copies, you will need to visit the San Luis Obispo County Recorder's Office. The City does not have copies of these documents.

10. I rent my property. Can I still get obtain a permit for an Short Term Rental (STR) / Vacation Rental?
Yes, but the property owner must apply for the STR Permit. A renter cannot apply for a STR Permit.

11. I already have a Business Tax Certificate (BTC). Do I need another one?
Yes, your current Business Tax Certificate is for a specific business (i.e., for your home office for XYZ Enterprises), and a separate BTC is required for each business, such as the short term rental / vacation rental.

12. I want to use a Short Term Rental Permit / Vacation Rental Permit to supplement my mortgage payment or rent. Is that still considered a business?

Yes, receiving any payment for a good or service is considered a business, and therefore requires an Business Tax Certificate (BTC) and is considered a business for tax purposes, even if it is used to make a mortgage or rent payment. Please contact a tax professional regarding how this may effect your financial situation.

13. Am I required to pay transient pay transient occupancy tax (TOT)  and Tourism Marketing District (TMD) taxes to the City?
Yes, the payment of TOT and TMD is required for all short term rentals / vacation rentals, hotels, and motels operating in the city that charge a fee for someone or a group to stay less than 30 days within the City of Grover Beach. This is required to be remitted on a monthly basis consistent with the City's TOT ordinance. Payments may be made online through our 3rd party vendor by clicking this link or payment may be submitted to the City by using this form.

14. Do I have to submit a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Tourism Marketing District (TMD) tax for to the City even if I had no stays during the previous month?

Yes, you need to report you had 0 stays. You won't owe any taxes. You can report these online through our 3rd party vendor by clicking this link or may be submitted to the City by using this form.

15. On a hosting platform's website, it lists a "service fee". Isn't that the fee that goes to the City for Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) / Tourism Marketing District (TMD) taxes?
No, this is a service fee collected by the hosting platform. This service fee is collected by the platform to help run their website and make your listing available. It is their "cut" for listing your short term / vacation rental and this fee is not collected by the City. 

16. Can't I just use Airbnb or my other hosting platform to collect TOT for people that stay at my residence?
Not at this time. The City is working with platforms such as AirBNB to allow them to directly submit TOT payments to the City, however it is contingent upon the ability to indicate the address and number of stays per month. Airbnb and other platforms are not providing this information to the City, therefore we cannot adequately ensure TOT is collected in a fair manner. If you would like this to change, contact your hosting platform and request they work with our city, as well as, others, to provide that information.

17. I have additional questions that haven't been answered here. Whom can I contact?
You can email questions to STR or call us Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (805) 473-4520. This page will be updated as additional information becomes available.