Planning and Development staff often get asked questions regarding homestays.  Below is a list of some frequently asked questions regarding homestays and the permitting process.  If your question is not addressed here, please feel free to contact our staff for additional assistance.  Our hours of operation is listed here.  


A homestay is the use of a residential structure rented for 30 consecutive days or less for a transient occupant while the owner or long-term tenant of the property lives in a legal dwelling on the same lot at the same time as the transient occupant(s).

Homestays are not regulated in the Coastal Zone yet, but are regulated everywhere else in the unincorporated County area.

Homestays must comply with all applicable development standards in addition to any applicable standards of the Santa Barbara County Land Use and Development Code (LUDC).  The LUDC includes standards for ownership, compliance with safety codes (fire, building, health), prohibited structures, signs, occupancy, parking, number of visitors, noise, internet listing, proof of ownership or long-term tenancy, and nuisance responses.

A homestay is allowed up to three bedrooms of each  legal dwelling unit (residence) subject to County approval.  No other rooms may be used for sleeping as part of the homestay .

Two persons per bedroom (up to six), not including minor children, can occupy a homestay.

Homestays are allowed in all the residential zone districts, in the Agriculture I zone (AG-I), and in mixed use zones (CM-LA, MU, OT-R, OT-R/LC, and OT-R/GC). Homestays and Short-Term Rentals are not currently regulated in the Coastal Zone.

Up to three bedrooms in a legal, main residence, a legal non-conforming residence, or an existing, permitted Residential Second Unit may be rented out as a homestay. 

Any dwelling that is restricted by an agreement, condition, or covenant by the County, including affordable housing units, agricultural employee dwellings, and accessory dwelling units may NOT be rented as a homestay.  Additionally, structures permitted to be occupied only on a temporary basis (e.g. guest houses or cabanas), and structures are spaces that cannot be legally used as dwellings (e.g. agricultural accessory structures, tents, trailers, vehicles, or yurts) may NOT be rented as homestays.

Parking is required on the lot on which the homestay is located in compliance with County Parking and Loading Standards (LUDC Chapter 35.36).  Generally, two parking spaces are required for one-family and two-family dwelling in residential zones.  On-street parking cannot be used to satisfy parking requirements.

Yes.  Either the property owner or a long-term tenant must live on the property long-term.  They must also be on the property at the same time as the homestay is occurring.  Proof that the property owner or long term tenant lives on the property is required.  A long term tenant or owner is described as a person who occupies the property as the owner of the property, or who rents the property for six months or more.

Anyone interested in establishing a homestay must submit an application for a Land Use Permit, including the Homestay Supplemental Application, Indemnification Form, and Agreement for Payment.

The homestay permit expires one year after the date of issuance. The permit must be renewed annually.

The Planning and Development staff are available to assist in your application questions. Please click here for our contact information and hours of operation.