Air BnB in San Jose CA while living in a different state

I have purchased an investment property in San Jose, CA and I am trying to get a handle on the short term rentals regulations in the City of San Jose. There is a city ordinance that states:

Incidental transient occupancy is only a permitted use in a dwelling that is subject to Parts 1—6 of [Chapter 17.23] of this Code, if the host is a person who occupies the unit that is being used for incidental transient occupancy for at least 60 consecutive days, with the intent to establish that dwelling as the host’s primary residence.

Does this mean that a person who’s primary residence is in another state cannot own an invesment property and use it as an Air BnB in San Jose?

Hello and welcome to this very useful forum.
Contact the San Jose Dept of planning building and code enforcement to get your questions answered.
I’m a Los Gatos/ Santa Cruz Mtns host.


It sounds like it. San Jose has a horrible housing shortage, and this is one way that local governments at least try to keep LTR housing on the market.

As another poster has suggested, you should probably contact the part of local government that regulates this and ask them, or ask a real estate attorney practicing in San Jose. Even in a forum such as this, you’ll probably get better advice from an expert than from strangers on an internet forum.

Sounds like your due diligence before purchasing was less than diligent. I would never purchase real estate where I don’t live, because I want to keep an eye on the property. Remote management equals lousy management IMHO.


Thank you for insulting me. I understand the regulations better now.

And there’s lots of ways to make money in real estate. Air BnB is one. Just trying to explore this option.

If you didn’t know, why didn’t you just move on to another post?

MY first thought was ‘why didn’t JJpipit1 do this research? Surely a call to the local government should have been done to clarify before the purchase was made’. This forum is worldwide - not based in your town - and the people here are happy to help but asking here to clarify local laws is what your lawyer should do for you.

Insulting? Maybe YOU should be THANKING…


Similar situation here. Local rules for STR are changing in November. All coastal villages are now 180 days per year in RESIDENTIAL areas for non live in hosted homes. If you are all ready in approved tourist accommodation then it is 365 days a year. This has been in planning for the last 2 years. The bleating now from recent property purchasers who want to STR is amazing. All they had to do was ring town planning…


This forum is known as a place where folks ask questions and may not always like the answer they receive. We practice tough love here, and many active posters tend to look more kindly on questions from those who personally manage their properties and are hosting because we like this business, not as an “investment” although we expect to make profits.

It wasn’t an insult. It was a wakeup call. Successful hosts go into this business after careful research, with their eyes wide open. Most of the folks that fail buy a property without doing so, and end up regretting it.

Welcome to the tough-love corner of our pub. :wink:


@JJpipit1 If you can’t handle non-sugar-coated responses from other hosts, just wait til you have to deal with str guests lying to you about coming for a small gathering for grandma’s birthday and then throwing a party for seventy 20 year olds and trashing your house.

That’s the sort of thing off-site hosts often end up with.

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I’ve been watching my city council meetings closely. Change is coming.

They were talking about additional licensing, restrictions, etc. then Covid19 hit, STR regulation was postponed.

The real estate market has gone crazy. In my neighborhood condos selling & never going on the market is common.

In my immediate area the number of STR rentals has more than doubled from 2 years ago. Based upon their listings, I can tell either they don’t know or don’t care about the proposed changes.

Well Rolf, I’ll tell you why I didn’t do this research before I bought the property. Because Air BnB is not why I bought the property. I bought my wife a vacation home in San Jose because she loves the city and we have friends and family close by. But if I’m going to pay a couple million dollars for a vacation home that mostly sits empty, I thought it might be fun to choose a theme, decorate the house accordingly and let others enjoy the home while we are not in it. And even though this is a worldwide forum, there are plenty of San Jose Air BnB hosters on here that know the answer to my question. In reading through the forum, there are lots of localized questions, especially from new people searching for guidance from experienced hosts. Tell me again why I’m supposed to be thankful for NordlingHouse insulting me and not answering my question??

Nordling house, it’s not that I didn’t “like” your answer. You never gave an answer. You just rode in on your high horse and started slinging insults. In order for there to be “tough love” you would have needed to offer a tough response to the issue. You just wanted to pick a fight. And now you have one. Any real estate deal is an “investment”. Not sure about your property, but all of mine act as a store of wealth, a tax shelter and cash flow like crazy. (You can google these things if you don’t understand) So- I don’t need a “wake up call” from you. At 50 years old, I have made more money in real estate than I will ever spend in this life and the next. I choose not to manage my properties because my time is better spent doing other things than brushing some strangers poop off the rim of my toilet. So, before you stand in judgement of my success, maybe you should re-evaluate your own. How’s that for tough love?

@muddy my problem is not with the amount of sugar on the response. It is people like you and Nordlinghouse that can’t comprehend or don’t know the answer to the issue, so you feel the need to be mean to the new guy. And with all of your vast experience you got outsmarted by a bunch of teenagers that trashed your house? With all of your expertise, you haven’t learned to get security cameras in place on the exterior of your home so you can see who comes in and out? You can also monitor the number of devices accessing your internet. You can install a device outdoors that will contact you if the noise level is violated. Maybe if you had done some of these things, you would have been able to be there on site and shut the party down before a single beer was cracked open. So, you can get down off of our high horse too.

Thank you for your thoughtful response DebThe Cat. I appreciate the info. I did see that 180 day regulation and it makes me wonder if Air BnB hosts are living in their homes for the other 180 days? It seems like this is what the city is trying to get people to do. BUT- it looks like there are a number of people though that have multiple properties that they have put on air BnB. Surely they are not living in each of them for 60 straight days. And they can’t ALL be their primary residence right?

Thank you for your response Annet3176. Yes, the real estate market IS crazy these days isn’t it? Low inventory has really turned this into a sellers market for the ages. I didn’t know that there was so much talk of regulating Air BnB properties before covid. I do remember some horror stories in the news. Like that mansion in LA that apparently was being taken over by lots of people “gathering” and not following the covid guidelines, etc…Do you think the negative news headlines had spurred on talk of regulation? And do you think the boom of STRs is a result of people trying to take advantage of the “reopening of the economy”? Are these properties all being filled? Hopefully there is enough demand to go around.

Thank you MtnGal! I will contact the planning and building folks for more info. I bet your Air BnB is beautiful in the Santa Cruz area! I appreciate the warm welcome.

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Arrogance does not sit well with hosts in this forum, and your bragging about your wealth and stature in the ‘real estate market’ does not tell ME why you are not, for example, offering to hire someone to do this work for you, rather than troll around looking for free advice. An accurate answer to your question is to check your local government - there are very specific conditions that need to be met for the correct ‘answer’ for your ‘situation’. You have been told that. Also, may I suggest that you CONTRIBUTE rather than EXPECT.



The “look at how much money I have/make/spent” response.

Never a good look mate, irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the comments/argument.



There certainly was in plenty of places. Barcelona and NYC are prime examples and CA certainly has more regulations than many states. I’ve only been hosting since 2014 but regulations have been a regular topic on this forum since I joined.

Here’s a list of threads where it’s been previously discussed.


Fair questions all.

WARNING LONGEST thing I’ve posted

My thoughts are;

***Neg news prompting regulation—some yes, some based on owners/property managers not being actively involved with guests or available after hours or on weekends to deal with:
-loud music & disturbances after 11 pm in posh (expensive houses) oceanfront areas so full time residents inconvenienced.
-Also overflowing trash bins spilling onto neighbors’ yards
-Other renter rude behavior.

Proposed regs include 30 minute resolution to complaints rule 24/7. 3x complaints not resolved promptly owner loses rental permit

***Reopening boom—partly but the “buy it now; rent it later” boom started last summer with people from large city/hard hit Covid19 areas buying properties so if Covid lockdowns occurred again, they would not be “stuck” and as owners could come to a beach area with moderate temperatures & many outdoor activities. Also now own family vacation property and can earn “easy money” renting

Ironically with people complaining about STR in their neighborhood, the neighborhoods allowing STR command higher selling/purchase prices.

***Properties being rented.
Yes, yes, yes but based upon my limited sampling of two friends each owning oceanfront or across street from ocean whose homes sleep 10 & 16, families wanting time together are booking. Both are filled in 2021 & into 2022.

I have a small condo 1 mile from beach but close to dining, shopping, & golf. Max 2 guests. My summer is 75% booked. From Sept-Dec, I’m already 50% booked.

Bookings are well ahead of last year.

Btw my neighbors have my phone number & I’ve encouraged them to call me day or middle of the night if something occurs they don’t like so I can deal with it. I manage remotely & work hard to establish a good rapport with guests prior to their stay.

Lot of presumptions. No, I didn’t get outsmarted by anyone. I haven’t had anyone trash my house because my listing is a private room/private bath for 1 guest in the home where I live. All of my guests have been respectful, good people. I have no need for security cameras, noise monitors, or any of the rest of the things that hosts who rent out entire homes require.

But I am well aware that many off-site hosts of entire properties have these sorts of issues with guests that require extreme vigilance on the part of the host.