Short-Term Rentals

Short-term Rental Business License and Transient Tax Requirements
If you are operating a short-term rental property in the City of Richmond, such as renting rooms on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, or other similar online platforms, you will need to obtain a business license and collect and remit transient occupancy tax.  

Business Tax and Business Tax Certificate also known as the Business License. Richmond Municipal Code (“RMC”), Article VII-Businesses, Chapter 7.04.020, the city imposes, and every person engaging in business activities within the city shall pay, an annual business tax. Every person conducting any business activity in the city shall pay the annual business tax and obtain an annual business tax certificate from the city. Except as otherwise specifically provided, the city shall collect business taxes and issue business tax certificates on a calendar year basis.

A separate business license must be obtained and paid for each rental property location (parcel). 

How to obtain a Business License. To obtain a Business License, your business is required to pay an annual business tax. Measure U, approved by Richmond voters in November 2020, changed the methodology of the tax calculation for most businesses from based on number of employees to gross receipts on a tiered structure. Under Measure U, Short-term Rentals are classified under Class E: Hotel/Motel. For more information, please visit the City of Richmond's Measure U section. 

If you would like to apply for a business license, please visit eTrakit.

You may also apply for a business license in-person at City Hall, located at 450 Civic Center Plaza, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA 94804. Our office is open Monday to Friday from 8:45 am to 4 pm. When applying for a business license, you may need zoning approval from the Planning Department. They are also located on the 2nd Floor and are open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 am to 4 pm and Friday from 9 am to 12:30 pm.

Home Occupation Authorization. As part of the Business License application process, applicants will be referred to the Planning Division to obtain a Home Occupation Authorization (RMC Chapter 15.04.810) and/or obtain a building inspection prior to issuance of the business license (these items will require additional fees).   

Transient Occupancy Tax.  In addition to the business license requirements, Richmond Municipal Code Chapter 7.88 requires transients to pay a Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax in the amount of 10 percent of the rent charged by the operator for the privilege of occupancy in any hotel.  A short-term rental for a period of thirty consecutive calendar days or less falls within the general and broad definition of a hotel as defined in Section 7.88.020(2) of the Richmond Municipal Code.  The tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the City which is extinguished only by payment to the operator or to the city. The transient must pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid.  The Municipal Code sets forth additional details regarding collection and payment of the tax.  Operators of short-term rentals should refer to Chapter 7.88 of the Richmond Municipal Code.  For details and requirements regarding collection of the tax, receipt requirements, registration, posting of a registration certificate, as well as returns and remittance to the tax collector: Chapter 7.88 - Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax.

If you have any questions about the above requirements, please call the Revenue Division at (510) 620-5555.