In 2015, I worked with the former Mayor’s office to cosponsor an item legalizing and regulating short-term rentals in Berkeley. Information and regulations are available here.
To rent your unit short term, you need a business license, and to pay the transient occupancy tax. If you are in a rental unit, you will also need permission from your landlord/property manager. You'll need to notify all immediate neighbors (residences above, below, and next to you). Units can be rented out as frequently as you like when you are in your home as a host, but you are limited to 90 days a year when you are gone. All guests must be provided with a copy of Berkeley’s noise and smoking ordinances.
Please look at the following FAQ's regarding this proposal:
Why are you regulating short-term rentals in the first place?
Short-term rentals were previously illegal in Berkeley (prohibited by the Bed and Breakfast Ordinance). The current legislation allows responsible hosts to rent out units legally while providing the City with revenue and protecting the long-term housing supply.
How does this benefit hosts?
Hosts will be able to legally rent out units. As long as hosts are present during the rental, they can rent for an unlimited number of days. They can rent out their space for a cumulative total of 90 days when they’re away.
How does this benefit neighbors?
Neighbors will know that there will be short-term rentals nearby and be provided with local contact information in case problems arise. Hosts will be required to notify short-term renters of our city’s noise and smoking ordinances. The City will be able to better enforce violations through a nominal enforcement fee.
Don’t short-term rentals take away housing that could be used for long-term rentals? Won’t apartments and condos be converted into permanent short-term rentals?
No, because the host has to be the permanent resident of the unit and provide documentation of ownership or lessee status.
How does this benefit the city?
It generates revenue through the transient occupancy tax (TOT). It also details protocol for short-term rentals and provides funding for enforcement.
I rent out a room in my house--how will this affect me?
If you rent out a room in your house and live there when renters are staying, you won’t be affected. You will, however, need to get a business license and give one-time written notice to immediate neighbors. You will also need to provide guests copies of the noise ordinance, and when applicable, the multi-unit smoking ordinance. You can rent out your house short-term (14 days or less) for a cumulative total of 90 days when you’re away. Any rentals longer than 14 days would continue to be unregulated.
I’m a host in a rental unit--what does this mean for me?
You can legally rent out space in your unit if you have permission from your landlord or property manager, pay the transient occupancy tax, and give a one-time notification to immediate neighbors, including those above, below, and adjacent to you. When you are there, you can rent out as often you like, but when you are gone, you are limited to 90 cumulative days per year. You will also need to provide guests copies of the noise ordinance, and when applicable, the multi-unit smoking ordinance.
Can I still rent out my backyard cottage?
Yes, if that is your primary residence and you abide by the other requirements.
Won’t these short-term rentals turn my neighborhood into a place for parties?
The current law requires hosts to provide guests information on the Berkeley Community Noise Ordinance as well as the Multi-Unit Smoking Ordinance when applicable. Stricter penalties for second-response violations are also included to incentivize hosts to remind guests to be mindful of noise levels.