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Yes. Short-term Rentals are subject to the Transient Occupancy Tax.
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A short-term rental is any one of the following:
1) a rental of an entire dwelling for 30 days or fewer
2) rental of 2 or fewer rooms of a dwelling with an onsite host for 30 days or fewer
Note, Bed and Breakfasts are not short-term rentals. Farm stays which meet the above criteria are short-term rentals.
Currently, permits to operate short-term rentals in the unincorporated parts of Humboldt County are few in number and not widely available. Dwellings in the inland area of Shelter Cove are eligible to be permitted as vacation rentals with a Special Permit. Several farm-stays have been permitted.
When adopted, the Short-Term Rental Ordinance will provide a permitting pathway for short-term rentals.
There will be several opportunities to ask questions and provide input and suggestions through the process. We encourage participation early and often. Dates for workshops and hearings will be listed on the main Short-Term Rental Ordinance webpage for your convenience.
Existing permitted Bed and Breakfasts will not be affected by the proposed regulations. The proposed ordinance would replace the Bed and Breakfast regulations.
A temporary moratorium on Short-term Rentals was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on June 6, 2023. The temporary moratorium expired on July 21, 2023.
Following the expiration, the county regulations returned to the status quo: Short-term Rental (STR) of residences for a period of fewer than 30 days is not permitted in the unincorporated area of Humboldt County except in the inland portion of Shelter Cove.
While there are many residences operating as STRs in Humboldt County, enforcement against these rentals is pursued only in response to complaints from the public.
No registration period or process has been established for Short-term Rentals. We expect that the application period for the inland area will open following the adoption of the ordinance.
The Planning Department has issued Special Permits for Vacation home rentals in the inland area of Shelter Cove. The Planning Department has also issued Special Permits for the operation of Bed and Breakfast operations which are similar in character to Short-term Rentals. Aside from these instances, Short-term Rentals have not been allowed.
We cannot give a precise date. Planning Department staff anticipates that the inland ordinance will be adopted in fourth quarter of 2023. The coastal ordinance must go through additional review with the coastal commission of California which extends timelines significantly - up to two years.
The Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide if there will be any grandfather clause. If a permit has already been approved, we anticipate that the terms of the previous approval will be honored.
The draft ordinance proposes a tiered permitting system depending on the location, size and scale of the proposed operation. Most projects would be approved administratively while others would require a Special Permit.
The draft regulations proposed a tiered permitting system depending on the location, size and scale of the operation. Projects approved administratively will cost less while projects approved with a Special Permit will be more expensive.