The City of Lancaster welcomes you, and we recognize the value and importance of a strong and varied business community. Starting a business can be exciting and challenging. We wish you great success in your new venture!
There are many things to consider and various agencies to contact when starting or operating a business. While each endeavor may have its own unique situation or purpose, it is important for you to research prior to starting the application procedure.
The easiest and fastest way to apply for a new business license or renew your current license is using the online filing method. To begin, simply click on the “Start now” button located on the right of this page. From the main menu, please select the “Apply” option to submit a new application for your business.
If you need further assistance applying for a business license, you are welcome to contact us at Lancaster@hdlgov.com or by phone at (661) 495-5100. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (PST).
AB3002 - On and after January 1, 2019, each city, county, or city and county shall provide to an applicant for a business license or equivalent instrument or permit and to an applicant for the renewal of the business license or equivalent instrument or permit, the following notice to applicants for business licenses: DISABILITY ACCESS REQUIREMENTS
SB1186 - On and after January 1, 2013, each city, county, or city and county shall provide to an applicant for a business license or equivalent instrument or permit and to an applicant for the renewal of the business license or equivalent instrument or permit, the following information:
Under federal and state law, compliance with disability access laws is a serious and significant responsibility that applies to all California building owners and tenants with buildings open to the public. You may obtain information about your legal obligations and how to comply with disability access laws at the following agencies: The Division of the State Architect at www.dgs.ca.gov/dsa/Home; The Department of Rehabilitation at www.rehab.cahwnet.gov; The California Commission on Disability Access at www.ccda.ca.gov
HOTELS & LODGING ESTABLISHMENTS
Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) returns for Hotels and Motels can now be submitted online, by phone, and mail to simplify your monthly reporting. To submit your TOT online, please click the “Start Now” button found on the right, and under TOT Remittance, select the “File and Pay Monthly TOT” option to begin your monthly filing process.
For the privilege of occupancy in any “hotel,” each transient shall be subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of seven percent (7%) of the rent charged by the operator. Lodging establishments located in the TBID area have an additional assessment of 2% of their taxable rent.
If you have any TOT questions, you are welcome to contact us at Lancaster@hdlgov.com or by phone at (661) 495-5100. Phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (PST).
TOT forms and payments may also be mailed to the address below. Please make checks payable to City of Lancaster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who needs a City of Lancaster Business License?
All persons or companies engaging in any activity within the city in exchange for money or other material gain, or for which monetary or other compensation will be received, including, but not limited to providing goods or services, whether the business is physically located within the city or located outside the city.
How long is my license good for?
Licenses are valid for a term of twelve (12) months, commencing on the first day of the month the business began operating in the City or when the City issued the business license, whichever is earlier. Licenses must be renewed a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to expiration.
What if I do not own the property where my business is located?
If the applicant is not the owner of the premises where the proposed business will be conducted, the applicant must submit a copy of a lease, rental agreement or other documentation that establishes the applicant has the property owner's authorization to conduct the business from that location. This does not apply to businesses operating outside of the City of Lancaster.
Are there additional requirements for operating a business in the City of Lancaster?
Upon submittal of a complete application for a mew or renewal license for any of the following businesses listed below will be required to pay for and obtain electronic fingerprint scans, known as live scan, the results of which will be used in conducting the criminal background check.
- Massage establishment (owner/operator & any massage therapist who does not have a valid state certificate)
- Tow operation (owner/operator and individual tow truck drivers)
- Taxicab operation (owner/operator and individual taxicab drivers)
- Liquor store, mini-mart or convenience store that sells alcoholic beverages
- Smoke shop, tobacco shop
- Hookah lounge
- Internet lounge or internet café
What is a Rental Housing Business License and Preservation Program?
On January 23, 2007, the Lancaster City Council adopted Ordinance No. 869 establishing the Rental Housing Business License and Preservation Inspection Program. The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure the rehabilitation or elimination of housing that does not meet minimum Municipal and/or State Building, Housing Code and Health and Safety standards. In addition, the ordinance is intended to promote safety and enhance the quality of life for City residents.
The property owner is responsible for completing the business license application annually and maintaining a business license separate and apart from obtaining a Certificate of Compliance for the Rental Housing Inspection Program. Rental property includes the following: single-family dwellings, duplexes, apartments, town homes, or condominiums, which are leased, rented or occupied by a person or persons other than the owner. There is both a business license fee and an initial inspection fee, and a re-inspection fee (if applicable). The registration fee is paid annually for a business license as well as the first inspection and re-inspection (if applicable), inspection fees.
Applicants must provide a copy of the grant deed and the owners name on the application must be filled out exactly as it appears on title. Agents providing property management services must have written authorization from the owner to act on their behalf. A copy of the agreement for property management services is required.
Are Group Homes exempt from the licensing requirements?
No Group Home shall operate within the City without a valid Group Home Business License. There are no exceptions from the licensing requirement. On January 23, 2007, the Lancaster City Council adopted Ordinance No. 870 establishing the procedures for review and issuance of group home business licenses. The intent of the ordinance is to reasonably regulate the use of dwellings in residential zones for use as Group Homes for disabled persons. The City finds that the residents of Group Homes and the community need to be assured that the Group Homes are placed and operated in a manner consistent with the goal of providing a family environment or the fundamental equivalent thereof while at the same time protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents and the community and to assure the limitation of the negative impacts that such uses may have on traffic, congestion, noise, children and family values.