County of Marin - News Releases - Penalty Fees Waived

For Immediate Release
June 07, 2019

Enticing Offer for Marin’s Lodging Operators

Business license penalties waived to get landlords to register long-term rentals

San Rafael, CA – Marin County homeowners who rent units on a longer-term basis are getting a reprieve from the County of Marin on penalties associated with mandatory business license registration.

A close-up view of the sign saying "Department of Finance" at the Civic CenterThe Department of Finance wants to inform certain homeowners about the requirement to have a business license and bring them into compliance.
The Marin County Department of Finance is waiving the penalty fees going back to 2016 if a long-term rental operator complies with the County’s just cause for eviction ordinance by June 30.

An annual business license registration fee costs $15 per a dwelling unit plus the $4 state-mandated fee, and the penalty for being delinquent is up to 50%.

“Our main goal is to inform people on the requirement to have a business license and bring them into compliance,” said Director of Finance Roy Given. “We’ve worked closely with the Community Development Agency (CDA) staff to get the word out about the requirement for a business license and make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.”

The registration for a business license is a required part of a new online registry for landlords to share rental data with the County. The registry was created because of Marin County Board of Supervisors’ desire for more data to document the expensive Marin housing market.

Affected landlords were required to register their rental units by June 1 to comply with the ordinance. The Department of Finance assisted during a rental unit registration drive in May hosted by the Marin County CDA, which oversees housing regulations, and many short-term rental operators stepped up to register.

In December 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved a pilot ordinance requiring landlords to provide legal reason – a just cause – before evicting a renter within the unincorporated areas of Marin. The ordinance, which went into effect in January, applies to properties with three or more rental units and does not limit allowable rent increases.

The Board of Supervisors has taken aggressive actions to alleviate pressure in the local housing market, one beset by high rents, low apartment vacancy rates, long-term resident displacement, and some of the highest median home prices in the country. The cost of living is prohibitive for people drawing annual salaries of less than six figures and creating more traffic as the workforce commutes to Marin from less expensive locations. The just cause ordinance is part of a larger series of affordable housing and tenant protection measures the Board has supported since it has made equity and affordable housing two of its top priorities.

Learn more about the just cause for eviction notice at To register for a business license, check


Roy Given

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 225
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6154

CRS Dial 711

Email: Roy Given