San Francisco, California Short Term Rental Regulations

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Reviewed by Derick Hargrave

Last updated August 23, 2023

San Francisco Short-Term Rental Regulations

Information is maintained by the community to provide helpful insights and links to local regulations, HostScouts does not provide legal or investment advice.

City Code of Ordinances

A short-term residential rental is a rental of all or a portion of your home for periods of less than 30 nights. You may only host short-term rentals in the same home (dwelling unit) where you ALSO live as a permanent resident. If a property features multiple dwelling units, you may only host short-term rentals in the same dwelling unit where you also live as a permanent resident. Criteria for Hosting:
  • To be considered a permanent resident, you must spend at least 275 nights a year in the unit where you host short-term rentals. If you own/rent a multi-unit building, you may only register the specific residential unit in which you reside.
  • The host can rent their property without limit if they reside there. The host can rent out your entire space for up to 90 days each year while they are away.
  • Liability insurance of at least $500,000 is required by law for hosts.
  • Some zones or buildings do not permit short-term rentals; consult the list. There must also be no unresolved construction, housing, or planning code complaints on your property.
  • Cannot be located in The Presidio, Fort Mason, or Treasure Island
  • Cannot be a Single-Room-Occupancy (SRO) or dormitory
  • Cannot be a Below-Market-Rate (BMR) or Public Housing unit
  • Must be permitted and designed for residential use. Commercial and industrial spaces are not permitted.
  • Cannot be subject to an Ellis Act eviction after November 2014
  • Cannot have sleeping quarters in outdoor areas, including treehouses and vehicles

For a complete overview, read the Short-Term Rental Ordinance in the San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 41A

Business License Requirements

In San Francisco, short-term rental operators must first apply for a valid Business Registration Certificate. You can apply through the Treasurer & Tax Collector's Portal in San Francisco. The Office of Short-Term Rentals in San Francisco also requires short-term rental operators to get a valid Short-Term Residential Rental Certificate. See more information on how to become a certified host and the Short-Term Rentals FAQ page

Building and Housing Standards

San Francisco has rules and regulations that specify minimum building, design, maintenance standards, habitability, health, and safety requirements. Some rules and regulations that apply to residential and non-residential properties may apply to your listing. Consult the City of San Francisco for more information. 

Tourist and Local Taxes

San Francisco imposes a 14% transient occupancy tax on the rental of accommodations for stays of less than 30 days. The transient occupancy tax is also known as the hotel tax. The tax is collected by hotel operators and short-term rental hosts/sites and remitted to the City.

Other Rules

It is also essential to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo boards, co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable. Visit the San Francisco website for more information. 
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  • Short Term City Rating
  • Competition

  • Real Estate Cost

  • STR Regulations

  • Seasonality

  • Rental Rates


San Francisco, California Quick Stats

Short-term rentals have gained a lot of traction in the last few years. The trends and statistics of this sector are constantly changing, and having access to accurate data is essential for making sound investment decisions.

STR License Required
Tourist Season
June to August
San Francisco
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Review our San Francisco California short-term rental analytics guide, including rates, property types and other metrics

Want to learn more about San Francisco?

Hostscouts has you covered. Our guides for this city cover topics that can help you research cities across the US quickly and easily.

Check out our San Francisco rental analytics guide if you're interested in data on the San Francisco rental market.

City Activities

Review the popular activities that hosts include in their property positing in San Francisco.

City Attractions

The most popular local and regional landmarks hosts usually include in their Airbnb or Vrbo property listings.

San Francisco Rental Rates & Fees

Explore nightly rates that hosts list their properties and the average fees for pets and additional guests.

Property Types & Sizes

What are the most popular property sizes for rent? Research whether a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom best fits San Francisco guests.

Interested in other California cities?

Check out the California short term rental regulations directory 

What makes San Francisco a great place to invest?

  1. San Francisco, California is a city that boasts a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant, eclectic atmosphere that will captivate visitors from all walks of life. With its iconic landmarks and iconic neighborhoods, this city is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
  2. One of San Francisco's most iconic landmarks is the Golden Gate Bridge, a stunning suspension bridge that spans the Bay and offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding area. Visitors can walk or bike across the bridge, or simply admire its beauty from the nearby parks and viewpoints.
  3. The city is also home to the world-renowned Alcatraz Island, a former prison that was once home to some of the country's most notorious criminals. Visitors can take a ferry to the island, where they can explore the prison's cellblocks, hear stories of its infamous inmates, and learn about its rich history and culture.
  4. For sports fans, San Francisco is home to a variety of professional sports teams, including the Giants and the 49ers, who both play in state-of-the-art stadiums that offer a fantastic game-day experience.
  5. The city is also home to a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options, including the historic Fisherman's Wharf, a bustling neighborhood that offers a variety of seafood restaurants, souvenir shops, and street performers.
  6. For those seeking outdoor recreation, San Francisco is surrounded by a variety of stunning natural wonders, including Golden Gate Park, a massive urban park that offers a variety of recreational activities and attractions, including museums, gardens, and hiking trails.

San Francisco Nearby Cities

Local Real Estate

How expensive is the real estate in San Francisco?

The cost of real estate can vary widely depending on the location, size, and features of the property, as well as market conditions. The median home value in San Francisco has decreased -12% over the past year, and the average price per square foot is $920, which is higher than the national average.

Median Sale Price


-12% YoY

Median per Square Foot


-10% YoY

Average Monthly Rent


1% YoY

Property Descriptions

The most common terms hosts include in their listings for San Francisco, California

Word Cloud for San Francisco, California Short Term Rentals

Common terms for San Francisco short term rental listings.

When potential guests are scrolling through listings on Airbnb, they’re looking for certain essential information to help them decide if your property is the right fit for their needs. As a host, ensuring that your listing includes all the relevant information that guests will be looking for is vital.

Some of the must-have elements of a property description include:

  • Location: Guests will want to know where your property is located in relation to popular attractions, public transportation, and other points of interest.
  • Amenities: What amenities does your property offer? Be sure to list all features guests can access, such as a pool, hot tub, parking, etc.
  • Informative: The average listing in San Francisco has a description approximately 1,699 words long. Make sure yours is long enough to describe your property but doesn't require your potential guest to read a novel.

After reviewing more than 5,223 listings in San Francisco, we've consolidated the most common terms on the word cloud. The larger text represents a term that is used more often. The top ten mentioned terms are San Francisco, Block, City, Place, Comfortable, Quiet, Easy, Garage, Desk, and Golden Gate.

What are the most popular tourist activities in San Francisco?

Whether renting a house, an apartment, or a room, you should include popular tourist activities in your posting. The most common choices mentioned on property listings in San Francisco involve Museums, the City Centre, Outlet Shopping, Cycling, and Hiking. When you write your listing, have a section with recommended activities near the property to give your guests an idea of what is available.


City Centre

Outlet Shopping




Adventure Activities




Health Spa


Local Attractions

What attractions do hosts highlight to guests?

There are quite a few popular attractions in San Francisco, including Pier 39, Oracle Park, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and San Francisco Bay. Below we've included the most popular local and regional landmarks hosts usually include in their Airbnb or Vrbo property listings. Many hosts like to show off lesser-known regional landmarks visitors might not have heard of.

Well Known Attraction

Golden Gate Park

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Presidio of San Francisco

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Pier 39

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Oracle Park

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

San Francisco Bay

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Union Square

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Included on 73% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Ghirardelli Square

Included on 71% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Chase Center

Included on 71% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Lombard Street

Included on 71% of listings

Regional Landmark


Included on 71% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Golden Gate Bridge

Included on 71% of listings

What’s the weather like in San Francisco, California?

The weather is about the same as the national average, with an average high temperature of around 65°, while the average low is about 53°. It has normal rainfall, averaging about 19 inches per year, compared to the national average of about 27 inches. Snowfall is scarce, with an average year having no snowfall. The humidity levels in San Francisco are generally lower than the national average, and the city has a mix of clouds and sunshine for most of the year.


December through February

47° Low 58° High

Muggy Days
0.0 days


March through May

53° Low 65° High

Muggy Days
0.0 days


June through August

56° Low 70° High

Muggy Days
0.1 days


September through November

55° Low 68° High

Muggy Days
0.1 days