Coastal Vacation Dwelling Units
For the Coastal portion of the City, a Vacation Dwelling Unit (VDU) is the rental of an entire dwelling unit, which includes areas for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation, to guests for 30 consecutive days or less.
A VDU is different from a lodging house or a bed and breakfast inn, because a VDU is rented in its entirety, whereas lodging houses and bed and breakfast inns rent individual rooms. Contact Development Services – Planning for information about applying for a lodging house or bed and breakfast inn proprietor.
For the Inland portion of the City, a Vacation Rental (VR) is an entire residence or a portion of a residence, such as one bedroom or a futon in a home office, which is rented to guests for 30 consecutive days or less. Click HERE for information about Vacation Rentals in the Inland Zone.
In general, any land west of Broadway, north of 3rd Street, and east of Myrtle Avenue is in the Coastal zone. Click HERE to be directed to the City’s interactive zoning map.
Type in your street address in the search field in the upper left-hand corner. Be sure to include “Eureka, CA”, and press Enter or click the magnifying glass.The map should zoom to your site, and if the site is just the aerial photo (no color overlay), your site is located in the Coastal Zone and you’re on the right page. If your site has a color overlay on the map, the site is Inland. Click HERE for information about obtaining an Inland Vacation Rental Permit.
Accessory Dwelling Unit/Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit:
An Accessory Dwelling Unit or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit which received a Certificate of Occupancy from the City prior to January 1, 2020, can be used as a Vacation Dwelling Unit.
A single-family residence can be used as a Vacation Dwelling Unit, unless the single-family residence was created under California Government Code § 65852.21 or 66411.7.
Legally permitted single- or multi-family residences, can be used as a Vacation Dwelling Unit in any zoning district where Vacation Dwelling Units are allowed (see 5. My Site is Coastal - What's Next?).
Contact Development Services – Planning if you are uncertain about whether your single-family, multi-family, or accessory dwelling unit can be used as a Vacation Dwelling Unit.
The City’s rules include basic standards for Vacation Dwelling Units, such as limitations on occupancy, events, signage, and a requirement to designate an emergency contact. Additional requirements/limitations may be imposed through the Conditional Use Permit and Coastal Development Permit process (if required – see 6. What if I’m in a CW zone?).
A Business License and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) payments will be required. TOT is a 10% City tax which must be collected every time rent is paid for short-term stays of 30 consecutive days or less in a Vacation Rental. Sites like Airbnb, VRBO, etc., DO NOT collect or pay TOT for you. It is your responsibility to collect TOT from guests and remit the collected TOT directly to the City’s Finance Department on a quarterly basis.
Whether you live on the site where the Vacation Dwelling Unit is located, or on another site, but still within Eureka’s City limits, you will also be required to obtain a Home Occupation Permit unless a property management company is operating the Vacation Dwelling Unit for you.
Long-term rental of dwelling units is allowed and encouraged – we need more housing! Building permits can often be obtained to allow almost any space, either attached to or detached from your primary residence, to be converted to a residence. A space or building with an independent entrance, sleeping area, bathroom, kitchenette, and a Certificate of Occupancy issued by the City, can be a dwelling unit.
If you are in the CW - Waterfront Commercial zone see 6. What if I am in the CW Zone?
Vacation Dwelling Units (VDUs) are also allowed in the CW zone district but require a Conditional Use Permit and a Coastal Development Permit. VDU Permits requiring a Conditional Use Permit and Coastal Development Permit take approximately 2-4 months to process and cost around $3,300. Contact Development Services – Planning to apply for a Conditional Use and Coastal Development Permit.
To get started you will need a:
- Vacation Dwelling Unit (VDU) Permit (one-time permit as long as the Business License remains valid).
- Home Occupation Permit (HOP) (one-time permit as long as the Business License remains valid). (see 4. What are the City Rules?).
- Business License (requires annual renewal)
- Building inspection scheduled through Development Services - Planning.
The building inspection is to ensure the dwelling unit to be rented as a VDU complies with residential Building Code standards. The building inspector will look for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguisher(s), a properly strapped and vented water heater, and will ensure the unit to be rented was legally created.
Although the fees vary slightly for each situation, on average, the cost of a VDU Permit is less than $550 total which includes the permits, license, and inspection.
Following the initial approval, Development Service - Planning will:
The Planning Department will send you and the City of Eureka Finance Department a letter of Approval, a postcard with the emergency contact information to the property owners within a 200' radius of the site and send the emergency contact information to the City of Eureka Police Department.
You will need to:
- Renew your Business License when City of Eureka Finance sends a renewal notification (usually in November). A Vacation Dwelling Unit Permit will lapse and become void by February 1st of each year unless your Business License is renewed and in good standing, all applicable taxes and fees are paid, and there are no outstanding Police, Fire, or Building violations.
- Pay Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) quarterly.
The tax, license, and permit requirements apply whether properties are rented directly by owners, through a local property manager, and/or through an internet listing site such as airbnb.com, vrbo.com, homeaway.com, craigslist.org, etc
Click HERE to be directed to the Planning Apps and Forms page where you can find the application forms and instructions for all of the planning permits mentioned above.
Click HERE to be directed to the Business License page which includes a link for the online Business License portal.
City of Eureka Finance Staff will reach out to you about how to pay your Transient Occupancy Tax.
Contact Development Services – Planning
We can assist you in identifying your zone, help you find the correct application form(s), and answer any questions you have about the process.
Thank you for your interest in providing a new and unique addition to the lodging options in Eureka!