County of Marin - News Releases - Short Term Rentals

For Immediate Release
September 19, 2023

Update in Works for Short Term Rental Rules

County collecting feedback as it plans revision of 2018 ordinance

San Rafael, CA – People have a chance to consider and comment on a proposed new ordinance that would regulate registrations and licenses for short term rental properties in Marin County. The Marin County Board of Supervisors, which first approved such an ordinance five years ago, plans to consider the updated version following two Planning Commission hearings this fall.

Over the past year, staff from the County of Marin has worked on an ordinance update designed to build upon existing “good neighbor” policies, ensure health and safety, and improve the availability of middle- and lower-income housing while maintaining access to economic opportunities, services and activities in Marin’s unincorporated areas. The lack of workforce housing in West Marin has been at crisis level for many years, and residents have voiced passionate feedback to the Supervisors and CDA staff.

An aerial view of homes along Stinson Beach.The County of Marin has had an ordinance on short term rental regulations since 2018 and is planning an update this year.

The 2018 ordinance, designed to encourage neighborhood harmony and ease concerns, required licensing for property rentals marketed toward stays of 30 days or less. It also required neighborhood notification that identified a local contact for the property, a complaint hotline phone number, and localized emergency information for the renters.

To date, staff has conducted research and outreach, attended community meetings, and spoken with members of the public and public agencies about their experiences with short term rentals. The initial ordinance update proposal, which factors in that public feedback, covers regulations that establish general operating requirements, including building, health, and emergency preparedness standards and expanded “good neighbor” rules.

Additionally, proposed regulations would limit the number of short term rentals by community, which generally reflect existing conditions but would not allow for growth. Proposed limits would only apply to full-time short term rental use, not to properties rented while an owner or long-term tenant remain onsite.

The updated draft ordinance is available on the County’s short term rentals webpage and the project-specific ordinance update webpage. A staff report will be prepared before the Planning Commission hearings scheduled for October 23 and November 13. Public comment on the draft ordinance will be accepted via email as well as during the in-person hearings that will take place at the Marin County Civic Center, Suite 330, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael.

The Planning Commission intends to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, which will subsequently hold a hearing later this year.  Ultimately, the California Coastal Commission must certify short-term rental regulations in the Coastal Zone as part of a Local Coastal Program Amendment.

An ordinance update also would end a moratorium for new short-term rentals in West Marin, passed by the Board in May 2022. The affected area covered from Dillon Beach/Tomales to the north, to San Geronimo Valley and Nicasio in central Marin, to the communities of Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, and Bolinas in the southern portions of coastal Marin.

Rental operators with a valid business license and Transient Occupancy Tax certificate may operate short term rentals in accordance with the County’s standards. The Marin County Department of Finance has webpages for business license registration and for Transient Occupancy Tax certificate information. Lack of compliance may result in enforcement action, including citations or action to cease short term rental operations.

Learn more about the local short-term rental ordinance on the County’s website or by calling (415) 473-7173. Anyone may subscribe to receive emailed updates on the topic.


Kathleen Kilgariff
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7173
Email: Kathleen Kilgariff
Community Development website