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Short-term Rentals

A short-term rental (or vacation rental) is the renting out of your residence, rooms in your residence or an accessory unit (granny flat). Short-term rentals are for a period of 30 consecutive calendar days or less. Such rentals have become a popular option for visitors, and the City has regulations in place to ensure the needs of everyone in the community are balanced.

Your legal requirements as a host

If you host a short-term rental, you must collect and pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). If you do not, you’ll be subject to a penalty.

You are also legally required to:

  • Reside on-site throughout your guests’ (lodgers') stay
  • Limit guests to a maximum of four adult guests per night
  • Register as a host with the City

Learn about your legal requirements: Municipal code 19.76

Two-Step Approval Process

Sunnyvale has a two-step approval process for becoming a short-term rental host.

Step One: Pay the Transient Occupancy Tax

The Transient Occupancy Tax, sometimes called a "hotel tax," requires that any person or business engaged in the renting of any number of rooms for lodging, dwelling, or sleeping purposes, must collect, report and pay this tax to the City on any guest rentals.

The Transient Occupancy Tax rate for the City of Sunnyvale is 12.5%.

Register for and pay monthly Transient Occupancy Tax

Notice: Effective Aug. 1, 2018, if you're hosting through Airbnb, the company will collect and pay TOT on your behalf. Hosts must still pay TOT for non-Airbnb bookings.

TOT Exemptions

Some guests may be exempt from paying Transient Occupancy Tax:

  • Federal, California state or foreign government employees
  • Guests who have stayed longer than 30 consecutive days

TOT Exemption Claim Form

Step Two: Register as a short-term rental host

  1. Register above to pay TOT
  2. Fill out the short-term rental application
  3. Bring your completed short-term rental application to the One-Stop Permit Center for approval and pay a one-time registration fee.

Notice: If you have separate listings for three or more spaces or rooms, you are required to obtain a business license.

How to apply for a Business License

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2019
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