As more and more people flock to the Bay Area, not-so-hidden gems like Berkeley are top on visitors’ lists. There’s so much opportunity for homeowners to welcome newcomers and allow them to experience the true beauty of the neighborhood. The city of Berkeley has always been careful when it comes to protecting its natural habitat, though. We’ll help break down the basic Berkeley home sharing rules for those looking to offer their homes on Airbnb or other home sharing sites.

Guesthop is a property management company specializing in Airbnb and short-term rentals in the Bay Area. We’ve been around for several years and are all too familiar with the constantly-changing laws around home sharing. We’ve helped hundreds of homeowners in San Francisco prosper with their short term rental in spite of difficult legislation. Now, we’ve got an eye towards Berkeley. Our list of properties continues to grow in the East Bay, but many homeowners are baffled by the Berkeley home sharing rules. We’d like to make it a bit easier to understand.

We are not lawyers and we do not know your specific situation. Use this article as a general guide and entry point for your education on Berkeley home sharing rules. But please consult with your own counsel and the STR website for more pertinent information.


Before moving forward, these are the qualifications that must be met in order to rent your home for the short-term in Berkeley:

  • It must be your primary residence.
  • You must live on the property.

For example, if you own a two-bedroom home, you would need to live in one room and rent the other. Or, if you have an ADU, you can live in the main house and rent the ADU.

ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units or “in-law”)

ADUs have become a hot topic in the home sharing world. The Berkeley home sharing rules stipulate the following for legally renting your ADU:

  • It must have been built before April 1, 2017.
  • The unit cannot have been used for long term rentals since 2007.
  • It must be legal and meet housing codes. This means it cannot have a full kitchen.

Time Limits

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There are some numbers you’ll want to be aware of when considering short term renting. Here’s a breakdown of the Berkeley home sharing rules around time limits:

  • Short-term renting applies to rentals of less than 90 days.
  • However, guests can claim tenant rights if their stay is longer than 14 days.
  • Because of this, Berkeley assumes you’ll want to rent for under 14 days and requires that you register with the OSTR to host stays under 14 days.

The above relates to the legal specifications for Berkeley home sharing time limits. The below explains the more practical guidelines for the amount of time you can rent.

  • If you are not living in the property, you can only rent for 90 days of the year.

A good example here is sharing your home when you travel. You can rent your whole house during travel times. But, since you won’t be there, it’s capped at 90 days total for the year.

  • If you are living in the property, you can rent year-round.

Again, this applies if you live in a different part of the property and will be present when your guests are there.

To Do’s

Person filling out paperwork to comply with Berkeley home sharing rules

If everything above applies to your Berkeley home, then you can move on to getting your paperwork in order. Here are some of the things you’ll need:

  • Proof of ownership. Typically this will be your Title document.
  • Legal status of ADU (if you have one).
  • Proof of residency. You can use your ID, voter registration, bank statements, utility bills, etc.
  • Register your rental with Berkeley and pay the application fee.
  • Remember to pay the Transient Occupancy Tax after you get bookings.

Berkeley home sharing rules can be confusing, but not impossible, to understand. We’ve helped so many homeowners reap the benefits of home sharing. Although it takes time and patience to go through all the legislation, it’s often worth it.

When you’re ready to share your space with future Berkeley lovers, review the guidelines above to get a head start. And reach out to us for all your management needs!