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Vacation Rental Permit

Vacation rentals are the rental of a private residence for periods of 30 days or less. Vacation Rentals do not include Bed and Breakfast Inns or hosted rentals permitted in accordance with the Sonoma County Code for B&Bs and hosted rentals, or occasional home exchanges that are not otherwise subject to Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Vacation rentals must have a Certified Vacation Property Manager and meet Performance Standards to ensure compatibility with surrounding residential uses.

Coastal Zone: The Vacation Rentals Ordinance has not been adopted for the Sonoma coast (e.g. Sea Ranch, Bodega Bay) and is not applicable to rentals in those communities. However, the owners of Coastal Zone vacation rentals must register to pay Transient Occupancy Tax.

Vacation Rentals vs. Hosted Rentals

Find out which situation applies to your property.

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Updates

Vacation Rentals Service Availability

The Vacation Rentals desk remains open virtually. For service during Permit Center hours, please email PRMD-VacationRentals@Sonoma-County.org or call (707) 565-1932.

Short-term Rental Limitations Health Order

For the latest information on short-term rental limitations, visit the sites below:

SoCo Emergency: COVID-19 Site

View State of California Guidance

Where are Vacation Rentals Allowed?

Vacation rentals are allowed (with permit) in the following locations:

  • In homes in single-family residential zoning districts (AR, RR, and R1)
  • In existing single-family residences in the LC zoning district
  • Agricultural and resource zones including LEA, DA, and RRD (except for lands within an Agricultural Preserve that is subject to a Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act) Contract)

Vacation rentals are not allowed in the following locations:

  • Higher-density residential districts (R2, R3, PC)
  • Lands within an Agricultural Preserve that is subject to a Land Conservation Act (Williamson Act) Contract
  • Land Intensive Agriculture (LIA) zoned properties
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (previously known as Second Dwelling Units)
  • Farm Family, Agricultural Employee, or Farmworker housing units
  • Non-habitable structures
  • Areas designated (e.g. the Exclusion (X) Combining District)
  • Areas within the burn zones of the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fire and the 2019 Kincade Fire 

If you are unsure of what your zoning is, please consult Permit Sonoma's Official Zoning Database.

Permit Type Required

Number of Guest RoomsPermit TypeTransient Occupancy Tax Requirement
Five (5) or fewerZoning PermitCompliance with all registration and payment requirements
Six (6) or moreUse PermitCompliance with all registration and payment requirements

Apply for a Vacation Rental Permit

Vacation Rental Application Forms

A complete application shall include the following items. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. All forms listed must be filled out completely (no blank spaces). 

Note: All documents must be submitted electronically. Permit Sonoma staff may, upon request, provide some assistance with electronic submittal if required. 

    Submit Electronic Applications
  1. Application Forms:
    1. PJR-001 Planning Application (PDF: 180 kB), signed by the applicant and property owner(s).
    2. PJR-011 Indemnification Agreement (PDF: 132 kB), signed by owner or agent with owner’s written authorization. A separate indemnification agreement must be signed by each property owner.
    3. PJR-096 Vacation Rentals Application (PDF: 56 kB)
    4. PJR-119 Property Report Checklist (PDF: 151 kB)
  2. Site plan meeting the requirements of PJR-129, Site Plan Requirements for Planning Applications, and clearly identifying all structures on the property and their uses; the access to the property (public road, private road, driveway); the proposed parking; and any outdoor areas that will be made available as part of the Vacation Rental (pool, spa, etc.). 
  3. Floor plan, identifying all rooms in the home or structures, including the number and location of guest rooms to be used as a part of the Vacation Rental. Exits must be clearly shown. 
  4. If vacation rental to be served by a septic system, provide proof of septic capacity. Applicants may need to see visit the Permit Sonoma Records Division for this documentation. 
  5. Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) Registration Form (choose appropriate one):
    1. Registration Form for Owner-Operated Rentals (PDF)
    2. Registration Form for Property Managers (PDF)
  6. Filing fee. See the current Permit Sonoma Project Review Fee Schedule. Fees will be determined once the full scope of a project is evaluated by Permit Sonoma staff at the time of application submittal. If paying by check, please do not fill in amounts on checks prior to application acceptance. 

Certified Property Manager Requirement
All new vacation rental permits are required to provide the 24 hour contact information of a property manager who has already passed the property manager certification exam and paid the fee.

Vacation Rental Permit Fees

All fees must be paid to obtain permit. Staff will assess fees and provide an invoice.

  • 1166 – Zoning Permit Level II Fee
  • 1163 – Annual Monitoring Fee (prorated by quarter)
  • 0140 – Tech Enhancement Fee Tier Type II

View Fee Schedule for Fee Amounts

Additional Vacation Rental Fees

  • 1163 – Annual Monitoring Fee
    Recurring fee paid by the vacation rental owner per property
  • 1164 – Property Manager Certification Fee
    One-time fee paid by the Property Manager when obtaining certification from Permit Sonoma
  • 1162 – Noticing Fee
    Paid by the vacation rental owner when changing the Property Manager for a vacation rental property (for notifying neighbors of the change)

View Fee Schedule for Fee Amounts

Cessation of Vacation Rental Use

Vacation Rental Zoning Permits and Hosted Rental Zoning Permits expire automatically upon the sale or transfer of a vacation rental or hosted rental property. Property owners who have sold their property should also let Permit Sonoma know as soon as possible in order to not be held liable for any vacation rental or hosted rental use of the property once it has been sold.

This form should be completed and submitted in all cases where the home is no longer being used as a vacation rental or hosted rental.

Fill out the Affidavit of Cessation of Vacation Rental or Hosted Rental Use (PDF: 158 kB) and follow the instructions on the form for submission.

Contact Information

Contact Us by Phone
Monday
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Tuesday – Wednesday
12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Thursday – Friday
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Address
Permit Sonoma
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

More Resources

Sonoma County Transient Occupancy Tax
Information and Forms

Permit History Lookup
Find out if an address has a Vacation Rental Permit, and find out the Property Manager's 24/7 phone number.

Zoning Information
Find out your property's zoning or if the Williamson Act Land Contract applies.