Airbnb rules Carlsbad

The city of Carlsbad enacted Airbnb rules that make short-term vacation rentals illegal depending on the property’s location. Ouch! For hopeful Airbnb hosts that are lucky enough to own a property in the Coastal Zone, they can legally operate it as a short-term vacation rental with a permit. Gone are the days when you can purchase a home in Carlsbad and guarantee that you and rent it on VRBO or Airbnb.

To familiarize yourself with the new Airbnb regulations, here is a thorough review of the Carlsbad short-term vacation rental laws in 2024 and how to navigate renting your home on Airbnb.

Is Airbnb Legal in Carlsbad

It depends.

Airbnb is legal in Carlsbad if the property is located in the Coastal Zone of the city. View this map of the Coast Zone to verify if you can rent your house on Airbnb in Carlsbad. Short-term vacation rentals (STRVs) located outside this area, such as parts of La Costa, are illegal. It’s a hard rule set by the city.

If you can’t tell where your property falls, use this map tool.

Why Short-term Vacation Rentals (STVRs) Are Only Allowed in the Coastal Zone

short-term vacation rental laws Carlsbad

The Carlsbad City Council limited short-term vacation rentals unless they’re in the Coast Zone because they fear the negative effects of disruptive guests. You’ve never heard of an Airbnb guest being disruptive or disrespectful, right? Of course not!

However, just because your home is located in this zone doesn’t automatically mean you can list it on Airbnb and VRBO. Many HOAs throughout Carlsbad outlaw short-term vacation rentals. Confirm that your HOA approves Airbnb rentals before pursuing a short-term vacation rental permit.

Carlsbad Short-term Vacation Rental Laws: Pros

Overall, the rules regarding Airbnb rentals aren’t that harsh in Carlsbad. Compared to Oceanside’s vacation rental laws, this is nothing. If you’re lucky enough to have a property located in the Coast Zone, there aren’t many other limitations to being an Airbnb host. Even if your property has a mortgage, you can easily apply for a short-term rental permit in Carlsbad and start earning income. Now, let’s review the benefits of short-term vacation rental laws.

No Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

As an Airbnb host, you don’t have to manually pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). In other cities across North County San Diego, you must apply for a TOT certificate and pay the tax manually. Instead, the city of Carlsbad handles this and charges vacation rental landlords periodically. It’s less paperwork for you when applying for a short-term vacation rental permit in Carlsbad.

Unlimited Short-term Rental Licenses

There’s an unlimited number of short-term rental licenses in Carlsbad. This is the opposite of other cities regarding Airbnb permits. For example, Chula Vista limits two permits per resident that intend to operate short-term rental properties. Additionally, there is no cap on the number of permits available. Airbnb hosts must still apply for a vacation rental permit in Carlsbad, but there isn’t as much urgency since they will not run out.

No Difference in Occupancy Status

Carlsbad didn’t go as deep as other San Diego County cities in terms of occupancy status for Airbnb hosts. For example, San Diego vacation rental regulations allow the city to deny hopeful hosts a permit if the property is their primary residence or not. That’s harsh!

Thankfully, here is laxer. There is no difference in applying for your short-term vacation rental permit in Carlsbad whether you live onsite at the property or not. Landlords can even live out of state and operate Airbnb rental properties in this city.

Carlsbad Short-term Vacation Rental Laws: Cons

The good with the bad.

Carlsbad short-term vacation rental laws are not perfect. The city gets a ton of demand from Airbnb guests, yet the city has a few strict regulations that impact landlords.

Occupancy Limits for Airbnb’s

An occupancy limit is a common short-term rental law for a city to enact. For Carlsbad short-term vacation rentals, hosts are limited to:

  • 2 guests max per bedroom per night (a studio apartment counts as a bedroom)
  • 1 additional guest per unit per night

For example, if you rent your 3-bedroom house in Carlsbad on Airbnb, the maximum number of guests is 7 per night. A duplex with 2 bedrooms in each unit can host 5 guests total per unit.

3 Strikes and You’re Out Rule

short-term vacation rental permit Carlsbad

Do you remember why Carlsbad made Airbnb illegal in parts of the city? They want to protect the quiet neighborhoods from noisy, obtrusive guests. To enforce these vacation rental regulations, the city of Carlsbad can legally give out citations to Airbnb hosts who violate the rules.

If you get 3 citations from the city of Carlsbad within a 24-month period, you lose your short-term rental license. The earliest you can reapply is 3 years once you lose your permit. Revocation is strict!

Carlsbad Vacation Rental Fines

Airbnb law violators don’t get off that easily. There are fines associated with breaking vacation rental laws in Carlsbad. Each short-term rental citation is more expensive than the previous one.

  • Citation 1 – $100
  • Citation 2 – $200
  • Citation 3 – $500

Do you think that the citation you received is unfair? There’s an opportunity to appeal it through the city. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the citation removed.

Airbnb hosts that get whacked with multiple citations may want to throw in the towel. Owning and operating a short-term rental property is not for everyone. Click here to sell your house in Carlsbad to a local buyer. We will purchase your vacation rental so you don’t have to deal with the stress of this strict ordinance.

How to Airbnb Your House in Carlsbad

1. Apply for a Business License

Before doing anything else, the first step to Airbnb your house in Carlsbad is to apply for a business license with the city. This is common for cities to require this for landlords planning to operate short-term rental units.

2. Apply for Short-term Vacation Rental Permit

Once you have an active business license with the city, the next step is to apply for a short-term vacation rental permit in Carlsbad. This application must be submitted via email, mail, or dropped off in person (1635 Faraday Ave, Carlsbad, CA 92008)

The vacation rental permits are valid for 12 months. Airbnb landlords must renew it each year to remain active. The city legally requires landlords to post the active vacation rental permit on the outside of the property.

Just like that, you have your license! The short-term rental permit application process in Carlsbad is much faster than in other nearby cities. Get licensed and list your property on Airbnb!

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) as a Vacation Rental in Carlsbad

short-term vacation rental laws

According to the Carlsbad short-term vacation rental ordinance, ADUs can legally be rented on Airbnb. However, don’t forget to read the fine print. If an accessory dwelling unit was approved after January 1st, 2020 – it cannot be used as a short-term rental unit. All ADUs approved by the city before 2020 can legally be rented out on Airbnb and VRBO.

Don’t purchase a home in Carlsbad with a large backyard with the intention of building an ADU and renting it out on Airbnb. The short-term vacation rental laws in Carlsbad state that newly built ADUs are outlawed. However, homeowners can rent out their new ADUs to long-term tenants.

Short-term Rental Rules for Condos in Carlsbad

The same short-term vacation rental regulations in Carlsbad apply to condos and townhomes. If the property is located in the Coastal Zone, it’s eligible for being a vacation rental. All others are illegal. Again, make sure to verify your HOA’s short-term rental policies. Many large condominiums don’t allow units to be listed on Airbnb.

Navigating Carlsbad Short-term Rental Rules

Carlsbad short-term rental laws aren’t as bad as other cities. There are hoops to jump through, but overall, it could be worse.

Many homebuyers are using the real estate house hacking strategy by leveraging Airbnb. Investors are buying homes, living in one room, and renting out the others to Airbnb guests. Locals can implement this strategy by applying for a Carlsbad short-term vacation rental permit through the city website. Now that you have a grasp on the Airbnb vacation rental laws in Carlsbad, start renting out your property and earning additional income.