County of Marin - News Releases - Short-Term Rental Rules

For Immediate Release
July 13, 2018

Board to Discuss Revised Short-Term Rental Rules

First reading of ordinance July 31 and public hearing tentatively set for August 7

San Rafael, CA – In a county known for its coastline and national parks, short-term rental properties, offered through companies such as Airbnb and VRBO, have become popular places for visitors to stay. However, not all residents are happy about the booming popularity of short-term rentals in Marin. After taking a few months to examine options with staff, the Marin County Board of Supervisors is considering requiring that neighbors be notified of short-term rentals at its July 31 meeting.

An aerial view of homes along Stinson Beach.There are many short-term rental properties in West Marin, including Stinson Beach.
The Board conducted a first reading in February 2018 of a draft ordinance that would’ve required posted signage to identify a property as a short-term rental in unincorporated areas of Marin County. In March, the merit hearing was continued to an undetermined later date to allow Community Development Agency staff to work with a Board subcommittee of Supervisors Dennis Rodoni and Kate Sears to come up with new options.

The new recommendation is that notification of a short-term rental be provided to surrounding properties before the short-term rental property owner obtains or renews a business license. The notification may be provided either by an on-site sign or by letters or door hangers to surrounding properties. The signage would identify a local contact, a complaint hotline, and other information. In addition, the owners of short-term rentals would be required to inform tenants of how to meet existing requirements of the Marin County Code related to noise, parking, vehicular access, and trash.

The July 31 hearing is a first reading of the ordinance and the Board is scheduled to hold a hearing on August 7 to make a final decision. The ordinance would sunset after two years unless it is extended by the Board.

Short-term rentals in Marin, especially in coastal areas, provide much-needed lodging in an area with few motels or hotels. Many people have told the Board that rentals lead to support of restaurants, shops and other businesses in the area that survive on tourist dollars. However, others have expressed that vacationers create problems with traffic, parking, and noise for the year-around neighbors.

In the past, companies such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway have been reluctant to provide addresses of rental properties to public agencies, making it hard for County staff to find out whether a property is being used for short-term rentals. In 2017, staff hired a consultant to research short-term rentals and how they are regulated outside of Marin. In July 2017, staff shared the results of those findings and encouraged public feedback, which helped formulate the draft ordinance.

Residents may subscribe to emailed updates on the issue.


Jeremy Tejirian
Planning Manager
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3798
Email: Jeremy Tejirian
Long-Range Planning webpage