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There is a  moratorium that prevents registration of new residential properties to pay TOT unless the owner lives on site or within a duplex on the property. The existing moratorium will expire May 31, 2018 or when a new ordinance is adopted by the City Council and approved by the Coastal Commission.

On October 24, 2017, the Santa Cruz City Council passed a Residential Short-Term Rental Ordinance (2017-18) that provides a set of standards governing the renting or leasing of residential property on a short-term basis. The regulations will help ensure that short-term rental activities do not become a nuisance or threaten the public health, safety, or welfare of neighboring properties while helping to maintain long-term rental housing stock in the city. The ordinance still needs to be approved by the California Coastal Commission before it becomes effective. 

Check out Item 20 on the City Council Agenda on October 24, 2017 when the ordinance was adopted. 

How do I register to pay TOT?

Contact the Finance Department at: (831) 420-5070, or visit the following website for an eligibility checklist Transient Occupancy Tax.

The Planning Department will determine whether you are eligible to operate a STR.  When Finance receives that determination, it will notify you to assign a registration number if you are eligible, or a tracking number to remit tax that is due if you are not eligible but have operated previously.

During the moratorium the following conditions apply to TOT registration:

  • If an existing active TOT-registered STR is owner occupied, the unit may be sold and a new owner may register as an owner-occupied STR.
  • If an existing active TOT-registered STR is non-owner occupied, it may be sold and the new owner may register as a non-owner occupied STR.  The theory being that this is not creating a new STR and is not displacing long-term rental housing.

For more information on TOT please visit the Finance Department's TOT webpage and for answers to frequently asked questions.


Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • Short Term Rental Regulation Background

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