VACATION RENTAL PROPERTY LICENSE REGISTRATION & RENEWAL

  1. Question: How long does it take the City to process a vacation rental license application?

Answer: Once you submit a completed application and the required payment, it can take up to four weeks for processing. You will be emailed regarding the next steps in the process once the application has been reviewed.

  1. Question: Can my vacation license be transferred to a new owner?

Answer: No, upon change of ownership a vacation rental license is no longer valid. The new owner can apply for a new license once escrow has closed. The ordinance states:

Upon sale or change of vacation rental property ownership, the license shall automatically expire and the property shall not be used as a vacation rental until the new or successor owner obtains a license for the vacation rental. Section 4.01.030 (C)

Note: If the change of ownership is amongst family members, please refer to the full text of Section 4.01.030 (C).

  1. Question: I want to buy multiple properties for vacation rental purposes. Is that allowed?

Answer: The ordinance limits the number of licenses to any individual or entity to no more than two. Individuals owning property in a trust or in a corporation are still limited to two. In other words, an individual cannot be a member of multiple LLC’s to obtain more than two licenses. The ordinance states:

An owner may not hold more than two licenses, except that an owner holding more than two licenses as of September 16, 2021, may renew those licenses unless they have been revoked or not renewed. Section 4.01.040 (B)


LICENSING PROCEDURES & FEES

  1. Question: Will I receive warning notifications about the renewal of my license?

Answer: Yes. Effective January 18, 2024, the City has implemented a 60-day warning system to help licensees avoid penalty fees. Per Section 4.01.040 (C), all licensees will receive five (5) separate notices, as follows:

      • an email 60 days before license expiration;
      • a reminder mailer notifying the licensee to check their email inbox for the renewal link;
      • an email 30 days before license expiration;
      • an email the day of license expiration, and
      • an email 30 days after license expiration.

Note: It is the responsibility of the owner and agent to ensure that the email address provided on the license application is active and monitored regularly. Section 4.01.100 (G)

  1. Question: Does the ordinance have reduced fines?

Answer:  Yes. Effective January 18, 2024, the City Council reduced fines for renting or advertising a rental property without a valid current license.  The first violation is $1,500, the second violation within 12 months is $2,500, and the third violation within 12 months is $5,000. Section 4.01.100 (A)

The fine structure related to violations of Section 4.01.060 Operational Requirements, is $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second violation within 12 months, and $1,500 for the third violation within 12 months. Section 4.01.100 (B)

  1. Question: How long do I have to complete the renewal process?

Answer:  60 days.  The ordinance states:

If an owner seeking renewal of a license fails to provide all required application information to the city within sixty (60) days following written demand by the city, the application for renewal shall be closed out, no license renewal shall be issued, and the owner shall be required to submit a new application and fee to the city to seek a new license. Section 4.01.040 (A.3)

  1. Question: Do I have to post my license inside my property?

Answer:  Yes. The ordinance states:

The license shall be conspicuously posted inside of the vacation-rental property and the license number shall be included on all advertisements or solicitations for the vacation-rental property, including, but not limited to hosting sites, websites, social media postings, emails, and print ads. Section 4.01.030 (B)

Note: The license will be emailed to the owner or agent upon approval of the new application or renewal. 


OCCUPANCY

  1. Question: What is the formula for determining maximum occupancy for vacation rentals?

Answer: There are limits to the number of people allowed to occupy a vacation rental.  The ordinance states:

Occupancy shall not exceed two adults per bedroom, plus two additional adults, not including persons under eighteen (18) years of age: but the total number of persons, including persons under eighteen (18) years of age, may not exceed one person per two hundred (200) square feet of living space or sixteen (16) persons, whichever is less. Section 4.01.060 (C)

Example #1: A 3,500 sf home with 5 bedrooms has a maximum occupancy of 16 people, only 12 of those can be adults. The remaining 4 people can be children.

Example #2: A 1,000 sf home with 3 bedrooms has a maximum occupancy of 5 people, all 5 of those can be adults, no additional people are allowed.


PARKING RESTRICTIONS

  1. Question: Does the City offer any alternative parking for additional vehicles?

Answer: No. All guest parking must be provided in legal parking spaces on the vacation rental property. Guests cannot park on the street or neighboring properties. The ordinance states:

Off-street parking at a vacation-rental property shall always be limited to the limit stated in the license, provided however that the number of vehicles parked at the vacation-rental property shall not exceed the number of legal parking spaces on the vacation-rental property. For purposes of this subsection, “vehicles” shall include passenger cars, towing trailers and boats. Section 4.01.060 (E)

  1. Question: If I have a gravel parking space, am I still required to improve the parking space by January 1, 2026?

Answer:  Yes.  The ordinance states:

Gravel parking spaces approved for vacation-rental properties licensed before January 11, 2021, and originally constructed after January 1, 2004, shall continue to be allowed until January 1, 2026.  Properties licensed before January 11, 2021, that do not contain off-street parking spaces shall continue to be allowed until January 1, 2026. Section 4.01.060 (E)

Note: The City encourages property owners to begin the process of getting the appropriate permits to add the required parking space(s) as soon as possible.  Please call (909) 866-5831 x153 for additional details and instructions.


CHECK-IN PROCEDURES & REQUIREMENTS

  1. Question: Can an agent or owner advertise a vacation rental property as “Self Check-In?

Answer: Yes, the definition of “self-check-in” means guests can access a rental property without needing the Host to be there. The ordinance states:

“Check in” or “Registration” means the registration of a guest for a vacation-rental property with an owner or agent, or through a virtual registration procedure between the guest and the owner or agent that, at minimum, (1) verifies the identities of all responsible parties, (2) requires the responsible party(ies) to sign the Good Neighbor Policy and (3) requires the responsible party(ies) to execute the rental contract. Section 4.01.020 (C)

  1. Question: What are the requirements for the exterior sign?

Answer: The requirements for exterior weatherproof signs are defined in the ordinance as follows:

Each vacation-rental property shall be equipped with no more than a single informational sign not to exceed two (2) square feet in area. Each sign shall be clearly visible from the street, include the city’s code compliance hotline/reporting telephone number, the 24/7 Agent contact telephone number, the maximum number of occupants, and the maximum number of vehicles permitted plus additional information required by administrative policy of the city. Section 4.01.060 (I)

  1. Question: Since there is no longer a requirement for in-person check-in, does an owner or owner’s agent still need to remain local while a vacation home is being rented?

Answer: Yes, a 24/7 Complaint Response Agent is still required.  Their phone number must be posted on the exterior sign and must be kept up to date. This person must be able to respond in person within 30 minutes if requested by a compliance officer. Additionally, the ordinance states:

Upon the request of the city, the owner or the owner’s agent shall respond in person at the vacation-rental property within 30 minutes of dispatch of notice by the city to correct any violation of this chapter or any other provision of this code. If the responsible party or any guest at a vacation-rental property fails to follow the reasonable direction of the owner or owner’s agent to comply with this ordinance or this code, the owner or owner’s agent shall notify the city and refer the matter to lawful authority. Any responsible party and guests must comply with any lawful order of any fire, law enforcement, code enforcement or any other public safety officer, which may include vacating or removal from the vacation-rental property. Section 4.01.060 (F)

  1. Question: Where do I find the City's "Good Neighbor Policy"?

Answer: The Good Neighbor Policy is available here.

  1. Question: How do I facilitate getting my guest to sign the Good Neighbor Policy?

Answer: This can be easily accomplished during the check-in/registration process.

All responsible party and guest check-ins must be performed in person by the owner or the owner’s agent, or by confirmation of arrival through a virtual registration procedure between the guest and the owner or agent. The responsible party must sign a copy of the city’s Good Neighbor Policy prior to or during check-in. If using virtual registration, the owner or their agent shall secure the signature of the responsible party staying at the vacation-rental property prior to occupancy. The owner shall retain a copy of each signed Good Neighbor Policy for a period of one (1) year from the date of check-in. A copy of the signed policy shall be provided to the city by the owner or owner’s agent upon request. An owner or agent may provide an electronic process for guests to sign and acknowledge the Good Neighbor Policy at check-in. Section 4.01.060 (B)

Note: While it is not required to send a copy of the signed Good Neighbor Policy to the City, it must be provided to the compliance officer promptly upon request.

  1. Question: How do I get certified as a 24/7 agent?

Answer: There is an online test that you must take annually and pass with a 100% score to become a certified agent. You can take the test here.


OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  1. Question: Did the rules regarding trash change?

Answer:  Yes. As of January 18, 2024, there are two (2) options for vacation rental guests:  1) utilize one of the Clean Big Bear sites, or 2) utilize curb side service. Please check with the agent of the property before utilizing curb side service.  The ordinance states:

Trash and refuse shall not be left stored within public view except in proper containers for the purpose of collection by the collectors. No container shall be placed in or adjacent to a street or public right-of-way for collection service more than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the normal collection time. Containers shall be removed from, within or adjacent to the street or right-of-way within twenty-four (24) hours after collection. The Owner shall ensure compliance with all the provisions of Chapter 8.64 of the Municipal Code (“Solid Waste Management, Collection or Solid Waste and Recyclable Material, and Edible Food Recovery”) or by such other means as may be  approved by the city. Alternatively, trash and refuse may be disposed at “Clean Big Bear” sites as authorized by the city. Section 4.01.060 (J)

  1. Question: When can a spa be used at a vacation rental?

Answer:  Spa activity between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. is prohibited. Additionally, any activity during these hours that disturbs the peace is prohibited.  The ordinance states:

Any activity, whether indoor or outdoor, on the vacation-rental property that disturbs the peace and the use of an outdoor spa by a responsible party and/or their vacation rental guests are prohibited between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Section 4.01.060 (H)


TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX & TOURISM BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT FEES

  1. Question: What does TOT and TBID/BBLTBID mean?

Answer: TOT stands for Transient Occupancy Tax. You must charge your guests 9% of the total fees and then remit that payment monthly to the City. These funds must be kept separate from the other revenue you generate and not be co-mingled into personal checking accounts. TBID or BBLTBID both stand for the Big Bear Lake Tourism Business Improvement District. This is a 3% assessment charged to hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals. The revenue is used to support the operations of Visit Big Bear. The City collects these funds but transfers 100% of it to Visit Big Bear.

  1. Question: When are the TOT/BBLTBID due dates?

Answer: TOT/BBLTBID remittances are due on the last day of the month, following the end of the reporting month. For example, the remittance for the calendar month of January is due on the last day of February. Postmarks are accepted for mail in checks. Payments can also be made online via the City’s payments page.

  1. Question: As an owner or agent, do I have to report the nightly stays as part of my TOT remittance?

Answer:  Yes. Effective January 1, 2024, the City will be requiring the reporting of nightly stays.  Even if you are using a platform to remit the TOT, such as Airbnb or VRBO, you will still be required to report the nightly stays.  The ordinance states:

Owners shall be responsible for submitting transient occupancy tax forms reporting nightly stays and gross receipts even if a hosting platform is remitting the taxes due on their behalf. Section 4.01.050 (C)

  1. Question: If I pay my transient occupancy tax (TOT), do I still have to apply for a vacation rental license?

Answer:  Yes. The ordinance states:

Timely payment of applicable transient occupancy taxes/tourism business improvement district assessments for a vacation-rental property shall not excuse an owner’s noncompliance with any other provisions of Chapter (Chapter 4 Vacation Rentals, of the City’s municipal code) and the City may impose fines or take other action as set forth in this Chapter to address said noncompliance. Section 4.01.050 (F)

  1. Question: Does the online hosting platform submit TOT & TBID directly to the City on my behalf?

Answer: At this time, Airbnb has not agreed to collect and remit TBID. Therefore, owners utilizing Airbnb will still be required to remit TBID forms and payments directly to the City. VRBO and HomeAway (Expedia Group) have agreed to collect and remit both TOT and TBID on behalf of their owners. Agents and owners are still obligated to collect and remit TOT and TBID directly to the City for reservations booked outside an online platform.

Get In Touch

39707 Big Bear Blvd.
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
P.O. Box 10000
Mon.– Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
(909) 866-5831

Staff Login