As of June 2017, in certain parts of the San Mateo County Unincorporated Coastal Zone property owners may legally rent part or all of their home as a short-term rental (less than 30 days) with a permit and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax.

Short Term Rentals are only allowed within legal residences on parcels that are zoned for Single Family (R-1) or Multi-Family (R-3) residential use within the Coastal Zone.

To confirm whether your residence is within the correct zoning, please use the Planning Department's “Find My Zoning” portal.

The following are some key points you should know about the Short Term Rental regulations for San Mateo County:

  • The County’s regulations prohibit the use of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (aka – In-law unit, Granny flat, 2nd Dwelling unit, etc.) for Short Term Rental use.
  • Short-term rentals cannot be rented for more than one hundred eighty (180) nights per calendar year.
  • The maximum number of short-term tenants allowed cannot exceed two (2) persons per bedroom plus two (2) additional persons. Children under twelve (12) years of age are not counted toward this maximum.
  • Each short-term rental shall provide at least one (1) parking space in the garage, driveway, or other on-site parking area, or at least two (2) parking spaces if the maximum occupancy of the short-term rental exceeds eight (8) short-term tenants. This parking must be available for use by the short-term tenants while the rental is occupied.
  • The applicant for a short term rental permit must designate a local contact person who must remain within a twenty (20) mile radius of the rental unit and be available at all times to respond to questions or concerns while the short-term rental is occupied by tenants.

View the full ordinance.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to review the ordinance, as there is important information in it regarding a property owners responsibilities if they obtain a short term rental permit.

All short term rental permit holders are required to pay transient occupancy tax (TOT) for each night the unit is rented. Proof that you have obtained a TOT certificate is required for the short term rental application. View an explanation of the County’s TOT regulations and application form.

The application fees for the short term rental permit are $300 (payable to San Mateo County) and are due at the time of application submittal. View the application form for the short term rental permit.