Operating License | Short-Term Lodging

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On May 17, 2016 the City Council adopted new regulations regarding STLUs throughout the City. The new regulations require STLUs to comply with certain operational and development standards with regard to vacation rentals which existed legally as of February 2, 2016, and all new STLUs, in an effort to minimize the nuisance issues associated with these properties and their impact on residential neighborhoods.  The existing STLUs, barring changes in ownership, may operate until June 16, 2016 with only a STLU Operating License, which is the permit required to register to pay Transient Occupancy Tax.  All new STLUs, and STLUs which were legally established as of February 2, 2016 that wish to operate beyond June 16, 2018, are required to comply with new zoning permitting requirements, available by clicking the link below.

The following link provides information regarding the properties that were legally established as vacation rentals as of September 15 2017.

Application Process

ATTENTION APPLICANTS:  Prior to applying for a STLU Operating License, all properties are required to comply with the Zoning Ordinance.  If the property was legally established as a vacation rental property as of February 2, 2016, compliance with the Zoning Ordinance is not required until June 16, 2018, and those property owners may apply for a STLU Operating License.  If the application is for a new STLU, the STLU Operating License cannot be applied for until the property receives zoning approval first.  For information about how to apply for zoning approval for a new STLU, please click on the link below.

STLU Property Owners are to submit an application packet comprised of a non-refundable application fee, completed STLU Operating License Application and required supplemental documentation.  Application packets will be reviewed by staff for conditional approval.  Property owners will be notified of conditional approval.  At that time the property owner will then have 30 days to notify in writing all neighboring property owners within a 300 foot radius and submit a completed Neighboring Property Notification Form.  STLU Operating Licenses will be issued once a Neighboring Property Notification Form is received.  

*Permits will not be issued at time of application packet submission.  Processing times will vary based on order received and staff review.

Application Fee

San Clemente Municipal Code (3.24) requires an STLU permit for every short-term lodging unit other than a hotel.  A non-refundable fee of $105 must accompany this application. 


Please download and complete the STLU Operating License Application.  

Supplemental Documentation

The following supplemental documents are required to be included in the application packet:

  • Site plan of the property showing the layout of the home, including the bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Diagram or photograph showing the number and location of designated, legal off-street parking spaces.
  • Fee Schedule: Please include the seasonal rates being charged for the STLU.
  • If governed by a HOA, written approval by the HOA’s governing body of the proposed STLU use.

Each STLU owner/applicant, upon conditional acceptance of their application, shall have 30 days to submit the following documentation outlined in Condition 10 of the STLU Conditions listed on the second page of the STLU application. 

Sample Documentation

The following links are examples of the application and supplemental documents:


The completed application packet may be mailed or submitted in person at:

City of San Clemente
Attn: Business License
910 Calle Negocio
San Clemente, CA 92673


*Permits will not be issued at time of application packet submission.  Processing times will vary based on order received and staff review.

For Business License questions Call: (949) 361-6166 or Email:  businesslicense@san-clemente.org

Hours of Operation

The Public Counter is staffed from 7:30 to 5:30 Monday to Thursday and 8:00 – 5:00 alternating Fridays.
Public Counter is closed daily between 12:30pm and 2:30pm.

Transient Occupancy Tax

Vacation rentals are subject to a 10% Transient Occupancy Tax.  All charges for the property use are subject to the 10% tax including the property rent, cleaning fees, key charges, etc. Returns are due quarterly, within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter.

To File a quarterly Vacation Rental Property TOT Return, complete and mail the following form:

Return To:

City of San Clemente
910 Calle Negocio
San Clemente, CA 92673
Attn: Finance

Quarterly returns are due within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter.

Exemption Form

 An exemption for transient occupancy tax (TOT) may be granted for continuous stays of 29 days or longer at a registered vacation rental property.  The form must be completed and signed by the occupant and property owner in advance of the occupancy to be eligible for the exemption. A copy of the form must be submitted with the quarterly Tax Return: