When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it's important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to provide some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Cupertino. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. We’ll continue to update this information as more becomes available. If you have questions, contact the Planning Division or other city agencies directly, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
Short-term rental regulations
Hosts in Cupertino are required to register with the City and post their permit number on their listing, or claim a valid reason for exemption, in order to comply with the ordinance.
Listings without a permit number or exemption posted will be blocked from hosting short-term stays (29 nights or less at a time) in Cupertino.
You can learn more about what’s required for your listing in the sections below.
- You host your primary residence
- You host a secondary residence, like a second home or vacation home
- You operate a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast
- You exclusively host stays of 30 or more nights
For additional questions about what’s required to host in Cupertino, visit the City’s Short-Term Rentals page.
You host your primary residence
If you host your primary residence, you’ll need to obtain a Business License Certification and apply for a short-term rental registration number.
Business license requirement
Anyone who hosts short-term stays (29 nights or less at a time) in Cupertino needs to obtain a Business License Certification. You can apply on the city’s website or you can download the application and submit it to the Department of Administrative Services in person or by mail.
Short-term rental registration
If you host short-term stays, you’ll also need a short-term rental registration number to host in Cupertino. You can apply online on the city’s website. Registration costs $200 and must be renewed each year.
To register, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Current identification (ID): A valid federal or state-issued ID such as a driver's license, state ID card, or passport. The name on the ID must match the name on your application.
- Site plan and/or floor plan: Plan must indicate the location of proposed short-term rental and any parking space(s).
- Proof of primary residence: You must provide documentation that the property where the short-term rental activity is to be conducted is your primary residence. Examples include:
- A current valid California voter's registration card or voter registration status
- A current valid California vehicle registration certificate
- A recent health insurance bill
- A recent vehicle insurance bill
- A copy of a paycheck or pay stub issued in the last six months
- Owner approval: If you rent or lease your unit, you’ll need to submit a letter of approval from the owner that approves your participation in short-term rentals for that unit.
- HOA approval: If your property has a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), you’ll need to provide a letter of approval from the HOA Board.
- Emergency contact: You’ll need to provide the name and phone number of a local contact that can respond to emergencies and/or complaints.
Once you submit your registration application and fee, the City will provide a temporary permit number to add to your listing while they review your information. When the application is approved, the city will notify you via email that the number is verified and you may continue using the same number. If your submission requires additional review, the City will reach out to let you know.
Renewing your registration
Your registration is valid for one year from the date that your pending permit number was issued and must be renewed annually.
You host a secondary residence, like a second home or vacation home
Second homes and vacation rentals are not eligible to host short-term rentals in Cupertino. If you’d like to continue receiving bookings, you can switch to long-term stays (30 or more nights), which don’t require a permit number in Cupertino. You can update this in your availability settings.
You operate a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast
If you host a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast, your listing is exempt from registration, but you’ll still need to claim an exemption through Airbnb to comply. This is free of cost.
You exclusively host stays of 30 or more nights
If you only accept bookings for 30 or more nights at a time, you are not required to register your listing or take any action on Airbnb. If you’d like to switch to long-term stays, you can update this in your availability settings.
In addition to registering with the City, short-term rentals in Cupertino must comply with local hosting rules, including the following:
- Unhosted stays are limited to 60 nights per year (no host/operator present).
- Guest occupancy is limited to two times the number of bedrooms within the rental or two for a studio unit.
- Short-term rental must provide the minimum parking spaces required by the zoning district in which it is located, and designate at least one on-site parking space.
- Short-term rental must have a local contact that can respond to any complaint within 60 minutes.
- Short-term rentals may not be used for commercial purposes or events that are likely to result in violation in traffic, parking, noise, or other regulations, and must comply with quiet hours from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- Host must provide a guest manual that includes information on noise, quiet hours, trash collection, vehicle parking and any relevant regulations.
- Host must maintain a license plate registry of all guest vehicles.
- Host must retain records documenting compliance for three years.
Guests who book Airbnb listings in Cupertino, CA will pay a Transient Occupancy Tax (12% of the gross receipts including any cleaning fees) for reservations 30 nights and shorter. Airbnb will collect and remit TOT on the operator’s behalf.
Other contracts and rules
As a host, you need to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, including leases, co-op rules, HOA rules, or other rules established by tenant organizations. You should be able to find out more by contacting your housing authority (such as a community council) or landlord. Your lease (or other contract) might also have specific details.
Our commitment to your community
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
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