Recent Regulations for Short-Term Rentals in Chula Vista

Short-term rentals, supported by online platforms such as Airbnb, have long been controversial. Travelers love them because they are often more affordable than hotels and give a sense of staying in a unique “home away from home.” However, they are not without their problems, and locals tend to look down on them. As their popularity has exploded, city governments have sought ways to rein them.

To this effect, the city of Chula Vista introduced a new set of regulations for short-term rentals that went into effect in 2022.


City officials recognized that STRs bring some significant benefits to the community. They allow residents to earn supplemental income, generate tax revenue, and bring visitors to Chula Vista that might otherwise stay in other parts of the San Diego metropolitan area. Despite this, they identified several areas of concern.

1. STRs can change the character of neighborhoods

STRs essentially turn houses and apartments into hotels, which can negatively affect neighbors. STR guests come and go at all hours, make more noise, generate more trash, and occasionally throw big parties on the property. Beyond this, significant portions of neighborhoods can be taken up with STRs to the point where permanent residents are in the minority.

2. Housing shortages

There is a severe shortage of housing in California cities. Renting out homes to short-term guests takes them off the market for residents. This squeezes the housing supply even more, driving up rental prices for everyone.

3. STR operators were not paying taxes

Existing law already required STR operators to register with the city and to collect and pay a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) based on their revenue. Reviewing the situation, the city determined that, of approximately 350 STR operating within Chula Vista in 2021, only 125 were registered and paying taxes to the city.

The New Rules

In response to these concerns, Chula Vista passed an ordinance to limit the proliferation of short-term rentals and bolster enforcement of existing provisions. Here are some of the most important new regulations.

  • All STRs require a permit from the city
    On top of needing a business license, STR operators must receive a permit for each property. These permits must be renewed annually.
  • The permit applicant must reside within Chula Vista
    STR operators must have their primary residence within the city limits. “Primary residence” means they live there at least 275 days a year.
  • No more than two permits per operator
    Each person may get a permit to rent out their primary residence and one non-primary residence.
  • Rules on operation
    The law has various regulations on how STRs must be operated. This includes a mandatory quiet time from 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., prominently displaying the operator’s business license, and promptly hauling away garbage.
  • Special permits for large events
    Before allowing the STR to be used for a large event, the operator must get a Short-Term Rental Event Permit. A maximum of 12 such permits will be granted annually for each STR.
  • Hosting platforms must collect taxes
    Platforms like Airbnb must automatically collect the Transient Occupancy Tax and remit it to the city.
  • De-listing noncompliant STRs
    Upon notice from the city that the property does not have a permit, hosting platforms must take down listings.

Get Help with Your Short-Term Rental

The Chula Vista Short-Term Rentals Ordinance is a comprehensive law that sets out many new requirements for STR operators. To successfully obtain a permit and avoid costly fines, you will need to understand all of these rules and navigate a complicated bureaucracy. 

Our attorneys have years of experience in the fields of business and real estate, and can help you keep your short-term rental business on the right side of the law. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Written By

Hoffman & Forde, Attorneys at Law