Natures Dream Big Bear Lake Cabin RentalBig Bear Vacation Rental Home Owner Checklist

Big Bear Lake and the surrounding area is a little piece of mountain heaven.  It is easily accessible from major Southern California cities, has plenty of seasonal activities, and visitors can enjoy free access to the lake. 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 consider.  Destination Big Bear 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 turning your home into a cabin 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 our experienced and knowledgeable staff.

City and County 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. Destination Big Bear 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.

Destination Big Bear 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 be inspected and pass with both Bear Valley Fire and either the city or county. You can reach the city at (909) 866-5831.

Fire Inspection

  • Smoke Detectors: One per level, in the kitchen, in each bedroom, in 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 gallon, locking, metal ash can for each fireplace
  • BBQ must have lid, metal ash can and wire brush

Bear Valley Fire will bill Destination Big Bear 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.  Destination Big Bear can 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 accessible to occupants at all times. 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 hall way 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.  Hand rails 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.  If you ever have questions about code items, please contact the city at 909-866-5831.

Destination Big Bear 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.


Occupancy Limits

The max occupancy of transient private home rental shall be one (1) person per two-hundred (200) square feet of building area, excluding garages or other accessory buildings. The occupancy of transient private home rental unit may never exceed sixteen (16) people, regardless of property size.


Unit Supplies, Appliances and Recommendations

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.
  • Destination Big Bear provides 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.  Tenants are required to remove their own trash from the site


  • Windows should be lockable and in working condition with screens that are in good repair and no holes (City Code).
  • Window coverings such as mini-blinds and curtains for security and privacy and should be in working order.
  • Vacuum with bags and extra belt for guest use. Destination Big Bear housekeeping provides their own vacuum for cleaning.
  • Washer and Dryer recommended if longer rental stays are desired.
  • Snow poles for free city snow plowing of berms. Can be purchased for $15 each.
  • Barbecue grill. Propane is recommended. No table top grills. Wire brush, utensils and ash can (if charcoal).
  • Portable heater for cold months and fan for warm weather.
  • Exterior door mats.
  • Snow shovel for tenant use.
  • Flashlight- at least 2 with batteries.
  • Patio furniture.


  • 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. Dishwashing soap, sponges and dishwasher detergent are provided by Destination Big Bear but it is recommended for owner to provide if prefer a specific brand.
  • Large trash can, broom, dustpan, mop and bucket
  • If trash compactor is available, homeowner should supply compactor bags.
  • Destination Big Bear provides dish towels, paper towels, trash bags and sponges.

Dining Room

  • Table with chairs for occupancy with glass or plastic cover to protect surface.
  • Kitchen breakfast bar stools for extra seating


  • Each bed and pull-out couch should have 2 blankets, 2 pillows and bedspreads/quilts.  NO KING PILLOWS – only standard size pillows. Destination Big Bear provides sheets and pillowcases.
  • Extra blankets in closet for colder weather.
  • TVs are recommended for all bedrooms with remote controls. Cable and DVD player optional but preferred for bedrooms.
  • Recommend minimum of 12 hangers per closet.


  • Toilet brush, trash can and plunger
  • Bath mats. Should be easily washable and non-slip.
  • Destination Big Bear provides 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.
  • Telephone with long-distance blocking – 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.
  • Flat-screen TV’s. Preferred in all bedrooms with cable access or DVD player.
  • Hot tub. Small size is O.K. for easier upkeep and cost. Locking cover for safety.
  • Internet with Wi-Fi
  • Pleasing, updated décor with a cohesive theme.

Not Recommended

  • Recliners and pull-out couches due to mechanism failure and wear and tear.
  • Light-colored carpet. Dark carpet is best to hide stains. A solid surface is desired.
  • No candles due to fire hazard

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

Owning a Big Bear Vacation Rental – The Seasons

In Big Bear, we will be faced with different challenges depending on the season. Please find below each season broken down. Also, you will find out what things to be prepared for so when they come up we are ready! You will want to plan on performing a deep clean before each season. This will help keep your home in tip top shape to handle back to back rentals all Season long, without losing any opportunities. 


  •  Deep clean
  •  If you don’t have A/C we would recommend getting some box fans
  • Do you have all your screens?
  • Perform a yard clean-up
  • If you have a Lakefront property, Dock Audit. What is the water department? 


  • Deep clean
  • Plan on fewer booking frequency September-Thanksgiving


  • Deep clean
  • Who’s your snow removal vendor?
  • How many shovels do you have at the cabin and where are they?
  • Change the heater filter
  • Check the thermostat and batteries


  • Deep cleans
  • Plan on fewer booking frequency April-May
  • What are dock levels?
  • Are they still in operating condition?

Damage deposits are collected at time of booking to cover extreme damages and circumstances.

  • Light bulbs and batteries will frequently need to be replaced.
  • Pool sticks and tips break and will need to be replaced. Foosball balls, 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. Destination Big Bear 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 Gorilla Glue and screws.
  • 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 twice a year.
  • Propane grills are preferred.
  • Window cleaning and screen replacement is frequently required.
  • Paint for touch-ups is recommended for inside and out.

Prices are subject to change by each vendor without notice.

Destination Big Bear

Mail: PO BOX 4351, Big Bear Lake, CA  92315-4351

Office: 41922 Fox Farm Rd, Big Bear Lake  CA  92315 / Destination Big Bear