Owner Information

Owning A Vacation Home

Are you considering investing in a cabin for income-generating potential?

From breathtaking summer lake activities to snow-covered winter sports, Big Bear is the perfect four-season escape for visitors seeking a unique mountain experience.

With endless recreation opportunities like mountain biking, hiking, and climbing in warm months as well as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing during colder ones – there’s no shortage of ways visitors can enjoy this region’s natural beauty year-round.

Taking the plunge into turning your Big Bear mountain cabin into a vacation rental can seem overwhelming. And when you hire SoCal Vacations as your property management company, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

With passion, we wish to preserve our picturesque neighborhoods’ residential character so that everyone from residents to travelers can enjoy this stunning retreat paradise.

You can turn your second home into an additional source of revenue by following SoCal Vacation’s guidance.

We’ve created this Vacation Rental Owners’ Guide to help answer all the pertinent questions and concerns that come with turning your Big Bear property into a short-term rental destination.

From location and wear & tear to cost considerations, we’re dedicated to helping make sure that transitioning your beloved abode succeeds with ease— all while delivering potential financial rewards too. Our experienced team is here to provide peace of mind throughout each step of the process.

Explore how creating money out of something as special as your own private mountain retreat could be beneficial not only financially but also emotionally.

Get in touch today; let us help direct you towards being part of this exciting trend by getting started on taking control over how best to utilize one’s own private space.

Checklist for New Vacation Rental Owners

While this guide may not be all-encompassing it highlights many of the things we do for you, the property owner. Or as we like to call you, our Homeowner Partners.

City Ordinance Information

Vacation rental properties must be registered with either the City of Big Bear Lake or the County of San Bernardino depending on location.

SoCal Vacations will arrange the inspections and complete any mandatory updates.

You may or may not be notified, depending on the extent and cost of the update, prior to the completion of the work and will see charges on your statement.

SoCal Vacations does not profit from any items that need to be updated to meet code.

We have the resources to have items fixed, or you can hire your own contractor if you prefer.

Before any home can be rented, it must pass inspection.

Occupancy Limits

The number of bedrooms determines the maximum number of adults (2 per bedroom).

However, the minimum area of living space per person is 200sf/person.

  • For example, a 1000sf, 2-bedroom cabin would have a maximum occupancy of 4 adults and 1 child, for a total of 5.
  • Guests could have a combination of 2 adults and 3 children, but they could not have 5 adults.

Code Compliance

The Code Compliance Division receives requests to enforce ordinances adopted to address blight, nuisances, and health and safety issues.

We recognize every resident plays an important role in our community and deserves a safe place to work and live.

While attempting to balance the needs of all of our residents, we strive to deliver our services in a timely fashion, professionally, and with a good attitude.

Fire Inspection

  • Smoke Detectors: One per level, In each bedroom, in the kitchen, in the hall between bedrooms
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: One per level
  • If Hard Wired: Smoke Detector and CO2 must be combined in one (same) unit
  • Exit Lights
  • Illuminated Address Sign
  • Fire Extinguisher: (Do not purchase/install prior to inspection. There are strict regulations)
  • 5 gallons, locking, metal ash can for each fireplace
  • BBQ must have a lid, metal ash can, and wire brush

Bear Valley Fire will bill SoCal vacations, and you will see a charge on your statement.

Minimum Requirements & Code Compliance Requirements (City Ordinance Info)

Note: Currently, we have a company that does the fire safety items – it is cheaper for them to do it most often, than for you to do it yourself. SoCal Vacations will coordinate this.

  1. One (1) 2A:1OB:C type refillable fire extinguisher per level with current inspection certificate is required.
    • Fire extinguishers shall be mounted in visible locations with the tops of the extinguishers mounted between three (3′) feet and five (5′) feet above the floor and shall always be accessible to occupants.
    • Yearly service is required.
  2. A minimum of one (1) smoke detector is required per level; in the kitchen, in each sleeping room, and in the hallway between bedrooms, and must be located within twelve inches of the ceiling’s peak.
  3. One (1) carbon monoxide detector is required per level.
  4. Emergency lights must be provided so that there is a reasonable level of illumination to light exit routes.
  5. No gaps of four inches or more between railings on any decks for child safety.
  6. No tree branches within ten inches of a chimney.
  7. Yard abatement was performed.
  8. Handrails on all stairways. (Mushroom grip with returns/T-stops at top and bottom)
  9. All sleeping areas must have screens on the windows without any holes. Furnishings cannot block window egress.
  10. Wood-burning fireplaces must be equipped with screens and 5-gallon metal ash can.
    • On a gas log fireplace, the damper must be permanently fixed in the open position.
  11. Charcoal BBQs must have a lid, metal ash can, and wire brush.
  12. No permanent use of extension cords with lighting, heaters, appliances, etc.
  13. Hot tubs and spas must have 2 clips on 2 sides of an approved cover. A combo lock is also recommended to keep neighbors out. A rail extension is also required if a hot tub has less than 36” clearance to a railing and if a deck is 3 feet or more above ground.
  14. No exposed wiring or overloaded electrical circuits.
  15. Switch plates on all outlets.
  16. No horizontal slats on decks that are higher than 3 feet. Ask our office for details on what to do.
  17. Spark arrestors must but on all fireplace flues.
  18. Any locking mechanism on outside doors must be operable from inside the unit without the use of a key. Any locking mechanism must be located no higher than four feet above the ground.
  19. Property address, exterior light, and exterior sign must all be plainly visible from the street.
  20. There must be at least a 54″ minimum clearance between furniture/combustible material and the fireplace opening and a 30″ clearance between combustibles and wall heaters.
  21. No leaking fixtures or clogged waste lines. All appliances must be operational and water heater tanks must be secured with earthquake straps on the top and bottom thirds of a tank.
  22. Garbage disposal must have a stress (Romex) clamp installed.
  23. Snow removal must be provided.
  • Keep in mind, that the City Ordinance is always adding more things to the list for safety. They may come out 1 year and find several items that need to be taken care of and then the next year, discover other issues that they did not see the year before.
  • SoCal Vacations does not make a profit on any items that need fixing for City Code. We simply fix whatever the city instructs us to do in order to get your home rented in a timely manner.
  • We do have the resources to have code items fixed and you are always welcome to hire your own contractors if you prefer.
  • Your home will not be able to rent out until those issues are fixed and your home passes inspection.
  • All issues/changes must be addressed and updated in order to pass re-inspection and any bookings.

Recommended Rental Property Preparation

  • Identify closets or storage areas that can be locked and store any personal items that you highly value or would not want a stranger using. Store or remove any items you do not want stolen or damaged.
  • SoCal Vacations will provide linens and towels. Store or remove your personal bed sheets and towels to prevent loss or replacement by cleaning staff.
  • Store outdoor trash cans in a locked area to prevent animals and non-authorized use. Guests are required to remove their own trash from the property.

Our recommendations are to ensure your property and items are safe. As well up to code. For your convenience and the guest.

General / Miscellaneous

  • Windows need to be lockable and in working condition. With screens that are in good condition with no holes. (City Code)
  • Window coverings such as mini-blinds and curtains for security and privacy.
    • Must be in working order. (City Code)
  • Vacuum with bags and an extra belt for guests to use during their stay.
    • SoCal Vacations Housekeeping provides its own vacuum for cleaning.
  • Washer and Dryer recommended if longer rental stays are desired.
  • Snow poles for free city snow plowing of berms.
    • These can be purchased for around $15 each.
  • Barbecue grill.
    • Propane is recommended.
    • No tabletop grills.
    • Wire brush, utensils. and ash can (if charcoal).
  • Portable heater for cold months and fan for warm weather.
  • Snow shovel for guest use.
  • Flashlight/mobile lighting- at least 2 with batteries, in case of power outage.
  • Patio furniture for guest comfort.


  • Plates, bowls, coffee mugs, drinking glasses, wine glasses, steak knives and silverware
  • Pots, pans, lids, strainer, cooking utensils, cutting knives, cutting board, mixing bowls, bake ware such as casserole dish and baking sheet.
  • Wine bottle opener, can opener, hot pads, oven mitts and dish drainer
  • Salt, pepper and any other spices if desired
  • Coffee pot and coffee filters, microwave and toaster
  • 409 or other general purpose spray cleaner and glass cleaner.
  • Large trash can, broom, dustpan, mop and bucket
  • If trash compactor is available, homeowner should supply compactor bags.

Dish soap, Kitchen towels, sponge, trash bags and dishwasher detergent are provided by SoCal vacations for the guest use. It is recommended for owner to provide these items if a specific brand is wanted.

Dining Room

  • Table with chairs for the correct occupancy for the property with glass or plastic cover to protect surface.
  • Kitchen breakfast bar stools for extended seating. If kitchen has a breakfast Bar.


  • Each bed and pull-out couch should have 2 blankets, 2 pillows and bedspreads/quilts.
    • SoCal vacations will provide sheets and pillowcases.
  • Extra blankets in each closet for colder weather.
  • TVs are recommended for all bedrooms with remote controls. (Highly recommend smart tv’s).
    • Cable and DVD player optional but preferred for bedrooms.
  • Recommend minimum of 14 hangers per closet.


  • Toilet brush, trash can and plunger in each bathroom.
  • Bathmats.
    • Should be easily washable and non-slip.
  • SoCal vacations will provide toilet paper, towels and wash clothes for guests

Living Room

  • Blanket and throw pillows.
  • Color TV with cable, DVD player and remote controls.
    • Flat screen preferred.
    • Smart TV preferred.
  • Area for firewood storage, metal ash can with locking lid, fireplace tools and lighter.
  • Non-flammable hearth rug to protect floors from burns.

Recommended to Increase Bookings and Rent

  • Pool table, foosball table or gaming table.
  • Smart flat screen TV’s.
    • Preferred in all bedrooms with cable access or DVD player.
  • Hot tub.
    • Small size is okay for easier upkeep and cost.
    • Locking cover for safety is a must.
  • Internet with Wi-Fi will significantly increase bookings compared to not having it.
  • Pleasing, updated décor with a cohesive theme.
  • A guest welcome book with activities and local knowledge.
    • For guest to refer to during their stay.
    • Optional but extremely helpful.
    • We can help with that if needed!

Highly recommend only buying high quality products for the home. As well as keeping a theme with the product brand/aesthetic. We aim to give our guest luxury stays.

Not Recommended

  • Recliners and pull-out couches due to mechanism failure and wear and tear.
  • No candles due to fire hazard
  • Personal décor/ photos. Nothing that you have a sentimental attachment to it.

Additional expenses due to increased use (accepted wear and tear of rental property)

We do not collect damage deposits, instead we charge an accidental damage protection that we use for repairs caused accidentally for the guest up to X amount of money specified.

  • Light bulbs and batteries will frequently need to be replaced.
  • Pool sticks and tips break and will need to be replaced.
  • Foosballs, ping-pong balls, paddles, and other game pieces will need to be replaced.
  • Dishes, small appliances and utensils will need replacing or become sparse.
  • Shower curtains and liner replacement.
  • VCR/DVD’s will stop functioning and remotes will get lost or stop working.
  • Lamp switches and shades get broken, or lamp stops functioning.
  • Carpets will need cleaning usually several times per year.
  • Vacuum cleaners can stop working for guests.
    • SoCal vacations housekeeping provides their own equipment for cleaning.
  • Toilets will become stopped up and possibly flood the bathroom.
  • Furnishings will become stained and need cleaning or replacing.
  • Kitchen tables get dents, scrapes and gouges.
  • Kitchen chairs become loose on a regular basis and require repairs as needed.
  • Garbage disposal will become jammed and eventually need to be replaced.
  • A deep cleaning will be needed about 2 to 4 times per year.
  • Weed abatement and yard clean up required by the City of Big Bear Lake and County of San Bernardino twice a year.
  • Propane grills are preferred.
    • Propane tanks will need to be refilled.
  • Window cleaning and screen replacement is frequently required.
  • Touch-ups on painting is recommended for inside and out.

Prices are subject to change by each vendor without notice.

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