Short-Stay and Vacation Rentals

The City is currently over the cap and is only accepting applications to be put on the waitlist. The City of Arcata began issuing Short-Stay and Vacation Rental (SSVR) Permits in March, 2021. The SSVR Permit applies to dwelling units rented for transient occupancy or other temporary occupancy for up to 29 days at a time. This includes any short-stay temporary occupancy for fee living arrangement - regardless of its title or its means of advertisement - except for hotels, motels, or bed and breakfast operations.

The City Council established a cap of 100 SSVR units under Ordinance 1559. Exemptions from the SSVR cap may be obtained for Owner Occupants, Historic Landmarks, and Occasional Use. The City is currently over the cap and is only accepting applications to be put on the waitlist. New units will not be permitted until the number of non-exempt permitted units falls below the cap.

In addition to the SSVR Permit, operators must hold an Arcata Business License and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Certificate. SSVR Permit Applications are processed by the Community Development Department. Business Licenses and TOTs are processed by the Finance Department.

How to Apply:

1.  Submit SSVR Permit Application.  Complete the entire one-page form, including all unit information and whether an exemption applies.  The property owner must sign (not a property manager or tenant).

2.  Submit Required Documentation:  See Page 4 of the SSVR Permit Application for information about required documentation.

3.  Pay the SSVR Permit Fee.  Payment may be made by check or over the phone with Mastercard or Visa. To pay by phone call 707-822-5955.


$150.00 for the initial SSVR Permit Application

$100.00 for each renewal application of an SSVR Permit

$20.00 to be placed on the waitlist

How to Submit:

Mail:  Mail a completed application and check for the SSVR Permit Fee to: City of Arcata, Community Development Department, 736 F Street, Arcata CA 95521.

Email:  Email the application and applicable documentation to Be sure to provide your phone number so City staff can call to obtain your Mastercard or Visa payment.

Forms & References

Short-Stay Vacation Rental Permit Application


Ordinance No. 1559 establishes permit requirements, including a limit on the total number of permits that may be active at any time, and other regulations intended to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of short-stay, vacation, and other similar businesses in the City of Arcata. These regulations are also intended to ensure that only a limited proportion of the City’s housing stock, which would otherwise be used for long-term residency, is converted to short-stay use.

  • Introduced at the January 20, 2021, City Council Meeting 
  • Adopted at the February 17, 2021 City Council Meeting
  • On February 17, 2021, the Arcata City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1543 which became effective on March 20, 2021.
  • On May 5, 2021, the Arcata City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1545 amending the Arcata Municipal Code related to Short-Stay and Vacation Rentals.
  • On February 1, 2023 the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1559 amending the previous ordinance to exclude hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts from the regulations and the cap of 100 units; create an exemption for historic landmark properties; remove the exemption for long term tenancy while keeping the exemption for owner occupied properties; remove the requirement for posting an emergency number; remove the building inspection requirement; and clarify language relating to roles and responsibilities.

Keep Informed

Receive notices related to Short-Stay/Vacation Rentals by signing up for the "Long Range Planning & Community Visioning" eNotification list.


If you have further questions, please contact the Community Development Department at or 707-822-5955.