SC City Rental Ordinance

The City of Santa Cruz is implementing a Residential Rental Inspection and Maintenance Program. 
NOV. 20 UPDATE:  The Santa Cruz City council is meeting this coming Tuesday November 23, at 7pm. This is the last opportunity to express your opinions on the rental ordinance including the latest versions of the checklist.

It has been suggested that the checklist be the same as the one used by the Santa Cruz Housing Authority for Section 8 housing.  This suggestion and others  from the planning department will be presented at this meeting, which will include public discussion.

Several contractors have stated that about 50% of the current illegal housing cannot be legalized and the costs to legalize those eligible would range from 40-50K.  If the city shuts down these units, imagine the effects on struggling home owners dependent on this income and low income families and individuals who may be forced to leave the area due to rising rental costs upon loss of hundreds of now occupied units.
Please plan to attend the meeting and voice your objections to this invasive and unwieldy ordinance.  Lets preserve our last vestige of privacy and freedom, our private home spaces.

Download the drafts of the Rental Inspection Checklists here.   

Any suggestions, additions or comments may be sent to City Planner Alex Khoury: 

Click here to read Ordinance No. 2010-17 as passed by the City Council on September 7, 2010. (See pages 2-10 only.)

Many property owners, tenants, and real estate professionals are taking a wait-and-see position regarding its impacts.  I’ll keep my eye on this, and if you send me your email address, will be sure to let you know of any big developments. I invite you to go check back here for information, or contact me any time with your Real Estate-related thoughts and questions.


The Santa Cruz City Council has passed a new Residential Rental Dwelling Unit Inspection and Maintenance Program. This fee-based program applies to any building or portion of a building that is rented for more than 30 consecutive days, and affects condos, townhomes, single family residences, duplexes, triplexes and apartments in the City of Santa Cruz. (It excepts rooms rented to single individuals in owner-occupied single-family homes, legal accessory dwelling units and newly constructed multiple dwelling units.)

Previous versions applied to landlords with three or more units. A July 15th revision changed it to all residential rentals. 

Each owner will initially register for the Program within 60 days of January 1, 2011. During the first 3 years of the Program inspections will only be conducted on units which are currently in violation of any building, housing or sanitation codes or ordinances. However, all rental units will be assessed Program fees; a $45 annual registration fee plus $20 for inspections and/or Self-Certification.  

Eventually, all rental units will be subject to periodic inspections and/or annual self-certifications in order to assure that rentals are in compliance with all building, housing and sanitation codes and ordinances applicable at the time of permitting. If a code or ordinance violation is noted during an inspection, the inspector will document the violation, advise the owner to correct the violation, and schedule a re-inspection. If the violation is not corrected, the inspector may report the violation for code enforcement and/or abatement.

You may email with your thoughts.