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Short-Term Rental Regulations

Short-Term Rental Regulations

The City Council will be considering amendments to the Fullerton Municipal Code regarding the regulation of short-term rentals at its meeting on June 2, 2020.

Short-Term Rental Regulations

In Fullerton, the number of short-term rentals has grown substantially in the last 12-months to an estimated 400+ listings on 320 properties (Pre-COVID19). These rentals range from individual bedrooms to entire homes and are dispersed throughout the city in various residential zones, but are predominantly in the Single-Family Residential (R-1) zones.

Current Municipal Code Regulations

Title 15 (Zoning) of the Fullerton Municipal Code contains regulations for overnight occupancy of residential properties for compensation in the form of Boarding Houses and Bed and Breakfast Inns.  Neither of these uses are permitted in Single-Family (R-1) zones and the definitions for these uses do not sufficiently encompass the short-term rental use. The Municipal Code allows the renting of rooms in R-1 and R-2 zones, provided it is not more than three bedrooms and a total of three persons per dwelling unit. Room rental regulations specified in Title 15 were not intended to apply to rooms rented for transient occupancy (stays less than 30 consecutive days).;

Current Enforcement Efforts

Code Enforcement monitors listings on short-term rental websites such as AirBnB, Homeaway, VRBO and others, but due to the lack of specific regulations for this use, if a complaint is received, enforcement actions are limited to nuisance activities that may be occurring on the property that are tangentially related to the short-term rental use.  The most common nuisance activities related to short-term rentals are: noise, property maintenance and parking. 

Proposed Regulations

City staff is recommending an approach which focuses on 3 primary goals:

  • Goal # 1 - Allow the use while protecting the residential character of neighborhoods.
  • Goal #2 - Create a mechanism for Code Enforcement to address bad operators
  • Goal #3 - Ensure operators pay the proper taxes and licensing fees

To achieve these goals, the following regulations are proposed:

Life/Safety Regulations:

  • Requirement to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed consistent with California Building Code requirements for residential properties
  • Property cannot have an open Code Violation for unpermitted work, improper occupancy or other structural related violation
  • Short-term rental operator shall provide an emergency exit plan for the property to all guests


  • Required to obtain a Business License
  • Required to pay TOT
  • Required to obtain a Short-term Rental Permit from the City

Protecting Neighborhood Character:

  • Prohibit use of short-term rental for event space (weddings, film shoots, etc.)
  • Posting of Good Neighbor Policies (Trash, noise, property maintenance)
  • Separation (buffers) between short-term rentals on a given street for properties used as “whole-home” rentals
  • Notification to adjacent properties with contact information for complaints / issues arising from the use of the property as part of renewal process
  • Prohibit on-site advertising

Addressing Bad Actors

  • Define short-term rental use in the Fullerton Municipal Code to provide Code Enforcement with a code section to cite against if/when a violation occurs
  • Nuisance abatement procedure and penalties
  • Revocation process for Short-term Rental Permit