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Short Term Rentals - New Ordinance in Long Beach

By Dianne Sundstrom

In recent years, the proliferation of online short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb, have increased access to vacation or short-term rentals (STRs) – furnished lodging that is made available on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. STRs had been illegal in the City of Long Beach, but Long Beach recently passed an ordinance that creates a permitted process to legalize such operations.

STR properties generally fall into one of two categories: 1) hosted/owner-occupied STR – where the person hosting the STR is on-premises; 2) un-hosted STR – where the person hosting the STR is not on the premises (also referred to as non-primary residence, or non-resident owned STR).

The City of Long Beach spent several years developing regulations pertaining to STRs. The procedure for drafting the ordinance involved multiple steps including an online survey of residents and public outreach meetings. After multiple revisions and postponements, the city council voted to adopt an STR ordinance on June 23, 2020.

The ordinance the City approved prohibits all un-hosted STRs in the city for a period of at least six months. They will not be authorized until the City staff presents a report to the City Council to reconsider amending the ordinance to permit the operation of un-hosted STRs. Residents will have an opportunity for comment/input at that time.

Basic regulations of the ordinance:

  • Transient occupancy tax applies (same as hotels).

  • A local 24-hour contact is required to respond to nuisance complaints within one hour.

  • Occupancy is limited to two guests per bedroom plus two (maximum 10 guests).

  • Large-scale events such as commercial parties, weddings, fundraisers, and conferences, are permitted, up to six (6) times per year. However, an STR occasional event permit must be issued.

  • STRs are prohibited in dormitories, deed-restricted affordable housing units, accessory dwelling units, or any not legally permitted dwelling unit (ex: a vehicle parked on the property, shed, garage, boat or tent).

  • An STR operator may not operate more than one (1) unit within the City.

  • No external signage is permitted.

  • The existing City Noise Ordinance applies.

Enforcement will be funded through permitting fees and transient occupancy tax. Successful enforcement is dependent upon the cooperation of hosting platforms.


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