San Francisco Planning to Begin Accepting Short-Term Residential Rental Applications February 2nd, 2015

Property Owners and Tenants Encouraged to Determine Eligibility for New Law Effective February 1st


SAN FRANCISCO, CA – With new legislation soon taking effect allowing qualified residents to legally rent their units through the Short-Term Residential Rental Registry, the Planning Department is encouraging the public to be well informed of the requirements before submitting an application to do so.

On October 27th, 2014 Mayor Ed Lee signed San Francisco Ordinance No. 218-14, amending the Administrative and Planning Codes to allow permanent residents of residential properties to conduct short-term rentals under certain circumstances. Beginning February 2nd, eligible property owners and tenants can apply to place their permanent residence on the Short-Term Residential Rental Registry. Residents may not rent their unit (in its entirety or a portion of) as a short-term residential rental until they have received a Short-Term Rental Registration number from the Planning Department.

With a valid Short-Term Residential Registration Number, residents may rent their permanent residential unit for periods of less than 30 nights under certain conditions without violating Chapter 41A of the Administrative Code (the Residential Unit Conversion and Demolition Ordinance) or the Planning Code. This includes renting a portion of their unit while they are also present for an unlimited number of nights per year, or renting all or a portion of their unit while they are not present, for a maximum of 90 nights per year. Tenants are prohibited from making more than their monthly rent from fees charged to their guests.

Residents interested in applying for the Registry are encouraged to carefully review the list of eligibility requirements and mandatory documentation required to be listed on the Short-Term Residential Rental Registry. “This new legislation requires applicants to provide several official documents to determine eligibility,” said John Rahaim, director of the San Francisco Planning Department. “We are advising the public to visit our website or contact the Department to familiarize themselves with the conditions before they apply.”

Residents must meet all of the following conditions to be eligible for the Registry:


  • The applicant must be the permanent resident (owner or tenant) of the unit he or she wishes to rent short-term. This means a resident must live in that specific unit for at least 275 nights of any given calendar year. Second homes in which they do not spend at least 275 nights of any given calendar year are not eligible. New residents must have occupied the specific unit for at least 60 consecutive days prior to application. If a resident owns a multi-unit building, only the specific unit in which they reside is eligible.
  • The applicant must obtain a San Francisco Business Registration Certificate from the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office.
  • The applicant must either obtain liability insurance in the amount of no less than $500,000 or provide proof of liability coverage in an equal or higher amount is being provided by any and all hosting platforms through which they will rent their unit.
  • The residential unit must not have any outstanding Planning, Building, Housing, Fire, Health, Police, or other applicable City code violations.
  • Residents may register only one unit, and Below Market Rate (BMR) units are not eligible.

The following documents are required with each completed Short-Term Rental Application:



  • An active Business Registration Certificate issued by the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office;
  • Driver’s License or State Issued ID Card issued at least 60 days prior to the application date and valid for at least the next 6 months;
  • Proof of liability insurance in the amount of no less than $500,000;
  • A signed affidavit agreeing to abide by all conditions of the short-term residential rental ordinance (included within the application); 
  • A check made out to the San Francisco Planning Department for $50.00; and
  • At least two of the following: 
    • Voter Registration Card or Certificate with the address on the application, issued at least 60 days prior to the application date; 
    • Proof of Vehicle Registration with the address on the application, issued at least 60 days prior to the application date;
    • Proof of car insurance showing the address of registration, issued at least 60 days prior to the application date; or
    • Original utility bill, issued by a public utility or PG&E, at least 60 days prior to the application date. Copies and printouts will not be accepted. Utility bills may only be used as one form of residency confirmation. Cable, cell phone, and internet bills do not qualify.
  • Proof of a Homeowner’s Tax Exemption. *Accepted as a form of residency confirmation only if the Homeowner’s Tax Exemption is for a property that is either a single-family dwelling or condominium.

Tenants will need to provide a copy of their lease or rental agreement. While tenants are not required to provide written permission from the property owner to place their residence on the Registry, they should be aware that registering their unit on the Short-Term Rental Registry does not supersede any private agreement, including lease agreements, homeowner’s association bylaws, Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs), or any other agreement, law, or regulations that prohibit subletting or other use of their primary residence as a short-term residential rental. Upon receipt of a completed application, the Planning Department will send a notice to the owner(s) of the unit, informing them that an application for the Registry has been received. 

Short-Term Residential Rental Applications will be made available online and at the Planning Information Center (PIC) located at the ground floor of 1660 Mission Street. There is a $50 registration fee required at time of application. Applications must be filed by the permanent resident whose name will appear on the registry and may not be filed by representatives or agents. Residents are required to submit an application in person to the San Francisco Planning Department by appointment only; drop-ins or dropped off applications will not be accepted. Appointments can only be made by calling 415.575.9179 after Monday, January 26th.

For more information on the Short-Term Residential Registry, visit




Please note the registration fee was changed from $50 to $250 on November 9, 2016.
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