Licensing Vacation Rentals

Who can use this service?

Anyone who owns a lodging business (including private home vacation rentals and vacation rental properties) in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County must register for a County Business License and must collect Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). 

Is there a charge for this service?

There are different costs within each step of licensing a vacation rental. Please see the process steps, below, for details on fees required.

What is the process?

Step 1: Contact County Planning and Building Department

Before a County Business License can be issued, you must receive a Land Use Authorization for your location. Typically, the County Planning Department can verify whether a business location is eligible over the phone. However, visiting the County Planning Department in person is required in order to issue the Land Use Authorization.

Step 2: Visit County Tax Collector

Once you have received your Land Use Authorization from Planning, go to the County Tax Collector at 1055 Monterey St. Rm D-290, San Luis Obispo, CA (Next to the Fremont Theater) to receive your County Business License and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Certificate.

Currently, the annual license requires a fee of $34. The annual renewal fees are lower in subsequent years. Tax Collector staff can also provide instructions for how to collect TOT and other required assessments from your guests.

Step 3: Visit County Planning and Building Department

Visit the County Planning Department at 976 Osos St. #200, San Luis Obispo, CA (Old County Courthouse) to receive your Land Use Authorization. Currently, this requires a one-time fee of $54 (Certain business locations may require other permits and additional fees).

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions

I intend to use Airbnb to list my vacation rental. What rules and procedures apply?

If you intend to use Airbnb for all or some of your vacation rental transactions, please see the Answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for more information.

Unpaid Unsecured Property Taxes are delinquent as of 5 P.M. on September 3, 2019. 

If paid after 5 P.M. on September 3, 2019, additional penalties and interest may apply. These taxes are a lien against the assessee, not against real estate. The assessed owner as of January 1, 2019, is responsible for paying these bills, even if they sell or otherwise dispose of the property after January 1, 2019.

Please contact the Tax Collector's Office at [email protected] or at (805) 781-5831 if you have specific questions about your tax bill. 

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