logo ×




Checklist for New Vacation Rental Owners

City of Big Bear Lake is a four-season resort community where tourists visit to escape everyday urban life in order to enjoy a unique mountain experience, including recreation activities, from all lake activities you can think off in summer to Mountain Biking, hiking, climbing and most popular even during winter, for skiing, snowboarding, basic mountaineering, etc. City of Big Bear Lake desires to preserve the residential character of neighborhoods that enhance the quality of life for our residents and provide a peaceful retreat for our visitors.

Tourism has increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in extraordinary occupancy rates of vacation rentals. At least for us, at SoCal Vacations, everything is about family and friends. Our rentals are ONLY for responsible groups of families and friends getting together, we do NOT allow and we would never allow parties at our rentals.

Owning A Vacation Home

If you own or are thinking of purchasing a cabin in Big Bear and turning it into a rental property, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. SoCal vacations is here to answer all your questions and give you peace of mind about turning your second home into an income property. This homeowner checklist will help you decide and help you plan to turn your home into a vacation rental in Big Bear.

Vacation homes are privately owned homes that are rented out on a short-term basis to visitors who desire larger spaces, privacy and the comforts of home. The property has the potential to make the homeowner additional income while not in use. We understand it can be a big decision, and we encourage you to discuss the options regarding location, wear and tear and costs with experts.

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 on any items that need updated to meet code. We have 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

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 be always 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 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 chimney.
  7. Yard abatement 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 BBQ’s 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 required as well if hot tub has less than 36” clearance to railing and if 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 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 top and bottom thirds of 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 safely. 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

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

General / Miscellaneous


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 if a specific brand is wanted.

Dining Room



Living Room

Recommended to Increase Bookings and Rent

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

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.

Prices are subject to change by each vendor without notice.