Short Term Rental FAQ

View the panels below for frequently asked questions about Short Term Rentals. If you have any additional questions, please contact Staff by email or by phone (415) 473-6269.


Draft Short Term Rental Ordinance

General Questions about the Short Term Rental Ordinance Update

  • Is the County considering a ban on Short Term Rentals?

    No, the County is not considering a ban on Short Term Rentals. Instead, the County is reevaluating its existing STR ordinance to improve the availability of middle- and lower-income housing, while maintaining access to economic opportunities, services and activities in the in the unincorporated areas of the County.

  • What type of regulations are being considered?

    At this time, the County is undertaking outreach to better understand community perspectives. Operating standards, noticing requirements, emergency preparedness, and enforcement are all subjects that have been broached in our initial conversations with the public. If you have any suggestions, please >write to us

  • Does the County have any Short Term Rental data?

    Yes, County shared Short Term Rental data at the first five Short Term Rental Learning Sessions, held in the Fall of 2022. Based on feedback provided at these meetings, staff will continue to refine and supplement this data accordingly.

    Please note, during the Learning Sessions Many community members shared their concerns with data presented by County staff related to the STR market. This data was provided by AirDNA, a data and analytics provider for the STR industry. AirDNA obtains data from Airbnb and VRBO, two online STR platforms, and as a result, may not be consistent with revenue and occupancy figures from traditional STR models such as those run by local vacation rental managers who do not use these two platforms.

  • How can I get involved?

    Here are ways you can get involved and share your opinion:

    • Subscribe: To receive updates and announcements, subscribe to the Short Term Rental webpage.
    • Survey: The County will be releasing a survey both digitally and in-print which will ask questions about Short Term Rentals. This will be released late Winter 2023.
    • Focus Groups: The County will host Focus Groups with stakeholders and community members to allow community members an opportunity to share input.
    • Get in touch: You may also contact County staff with any questions by email.
  • Many communities in the County are unique, and what works for one place may not in another. Is the County considering community-specific regulations?

    The County acknowledges that communities within the unincorporated areas of Marin have unique characteristics and amenities, which should be considered when developing regulations. For example, the development pattern and amenities in Dillon Beach, largely developed with vacation homes, vary from those in Mill Valley, which is predominantly developed with primary residences. Throughout the update to the STR ordinance, the County will continue to consider whether one-size-fits-all approach may not be feasible or realistic

  • Short Term Rental Operators collect and remit Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT). How much TOT does the County collect?

    The Department of Finance maintains a  Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) website where members of the public can access County data related to TOT.

  • Transient Occupancy Taxes are 4% higher in West Marin. Where does this money go?

    The 4% extra TOT funds are split evenly between fire/emergency services and long term community housing. An oversight committee reviews the expenditure funds to ensure that the revenue is allocated for these purposes. Additional information can be found on the County’s Measure W webpage.

  • How does the County intend to use everyone's feedback provided during this process?

    There are many stakeholders and public perspectives involved in this Short Term Rental Ordinance Update. From renters and affordable housing advocates to STR operators, vacation rental managers, business owners, and neighbors, many perspectives are actively involved in this work. The County is committed to an open and transparent process and will continue to do so as we move forward with the Update.

    Feedback provided to date has been incorporated in these FAQs, and we will update these as necessary. Public comments received are reviewed and included in the project record. All comments received will be shared with decisionmakers as part of meeting materials. Should you want to share your thoughts in writing, please contact us at any time during this process.

  • Renting my house makes living in Marin affordable. Will the County limit my ability to do this as part of this Update?

    Many community members have shared that operating STRs allow them to age in place and/or afford living in Marin, and suggested the County recognize the difference between hosted and unhosted STRs when considering updated regulations.

    Many communities in California currently distinguish between Short Term Rentals that occur in a primary residence and those that remain full-time vacation rentals. The County will consider the ways in which people use their properties as part of this Update and anticipates different regulations for full-time residents who may rent a room in their home or occasionally offer an entire home rental.

  • Is the County considering regulations from other jurisdictions in the County or State?

    Yes, many agencies in California are currently considering or have adopted Short Term Rental regulations. The County can learn from our neighboring communities, along with those along the California Coast when determining which regulations are right for Marin.

    For example, Sonoma County recently approved new Short Term Rental regulations and are currently working with the California Coastal Commission to craft regulations for their Coastal Zone. We will continue to follow this process and engage with their staff as we work to update our Short Term Rental Ordinance.

  • Is the County considering the impact Short Term Rentals have on the local economy?

    Yes, the County understands that Short Term Rentals contribute to the local economy. For example, in addition to the Transient Occupancy Tax generated from rentals, visitors shop and dine in our communities. Rental operators employ locals who provide cleaning and maintenance services. County staff has identified a number of Short Term Rental stakeholders and plans to conduct further outreach and data collection to better understand the impacts of Short Term Rentals on the local economy.

  • Will the California Coastal Commission be involved in the Short Term Rental Ordinance Update?

    Yes, many of the communities in West Marin are located in the Coastal Zone. The California Coastal Commission must certify a Local Coastal Program Amendment for Short Term Rental regulations in the Coastal Zone to ensure that the regulations are consistent with the Coastal Act, which protects and promotes low cost visitor accommodations and access to the Coast.

  • I am currently impacted by a neighboring property that is used as a Short Term Rental. Is the County considering stronger enforcement and penalties as part of this Update?

    The County established Guiding Principles for the Short Term Rental Ordinance Update which include the goal of developing regulations that are clear, affordable, simple, and enforceable (C.A.S.E). We will evaluate regulations within this lens and will further develop the enforcement portion of the STR Ordinance when we have draft regulations.

    That said, if you have a complaint about a Short Term Rental within the unincorporated areas of the County, you may contact our Short Term Rental Hotline at (415) 300-4445. You may also submit a complaint by filling out an online form.

  • What else is the County doing to address our Statewide housing crisis?

    The Marin County Board of Supervisors recently adopted the  2023 Housing Element. The purpose of the Housing Element is to offer an adequate supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing for the unincorporated County residents, special needs populations, and workforce. County staff will implement the policies and programs outlined in the Housing Element, such as this Short Term Rental Ordinance Update, to advance the housing goals of the County.

General Short Term Rental Questions

West Marin Moratorium

  • Where does the current Short Term Rental moratorium apply?

    Mainly West Marin, including Nicasio and the San Geronimo Valley. Find out if a property is subject to the current moratorium.

  • Why West Marin?

    Due to the small size of West Marin communities and the growing popularity of Short Term Rentals, the impacts for residents and community services are particularly acute, requiring consideration of near-term action.

    A significant proportion of the housing in some communities has been converted to commercial use in the form of STRs; for example, 25 percent of all housing units in Marshall and 27 percent in Stinson Beach are registered as Short Term Rentals. In comparison, about 3% of homes in the unincorporated areas of Mill Valley are used as Short Term Rentals.

  • How does this moratorium affect me if I currently operate a short-term rental?

    f you currently have a valid business license and Transient Occupancy Tax certificate as of May 24, 2022, and you renew as required, you may continue to operate your short-term rental in accordance with the County’s standards.

  • How long is the moratorium in effect?

    The moratorium will expire May 23, 2024, or when the California Coastal Commission certifies the County’s STR regulations.

  • If my house is a short-term rental and it sells, are the new owners able to operate the house as a short-term rental?

    No. The registrations follow the owner and the associated property/parcel. If you sell the property, you will need to close both registrations and the new owner will need to apply for a new business license and TOT Certificate, if they plan to use the property as a STR.

    If you own another property, you would also need to reapply for another business license and TOT certificate number. You cannot operate two different short-term rentals under one TOT certificate number.

    As such, under the moratorium if someone sells their property, their buyer could not retain the short-term rental use, nor could someone add another short-term rental under an existing registration.

  • Is there a waiting list if I missed the deadline to register? When will registration open again?

    Registration is not expected to reopen while the moratorium is in effect. There is no waiting list.

  • How does the Moratorium stabilize housing supply

    The moratorium, if adopted, would effectively prohibit new short-term rentals in the West Marin Transient Occupancy Tax Area while the County evaluates the best way to regulate short-term rentals in the future. As a result, housing that would have otherwise been used for a new short-term rental in this area will be available for other purposes, such as permanent housing./p>

  • How did the County notify people about this Moratorium?

    Prior to STR Moratorium staff exceeded public noticing requirements & conducted the following outreach:

    • Advertisements of Board Meetings were placed in the Marin IJ in conformance with State Law.
    • Press releases announcing the moratorium
    • Stories were written in local media including the Marin IJ, Point Reyes Light, SF Chronicle, and KQED.
    • Radio stories and interviews on the subject on KWMR and KQED
    • Notifications sent to compliant and non-compliant Short Term Rental operators, long term rental operators, and Short Term Rental operators with expired Business Licenses.

    From the date the moratorium was announced (May 5, 2022) to the date the moratorium was adopted (May 24, 2022) over 140 homeowners obtained the required licenses to operate Short Term Rentals in West Marin.

  • I do not support this moratorium. What can be done to change it?

    The County is not considering changes to the moratorium at this time. The moratorium will expire May 23, 2024, or when the California Coastal Commission certifies the County’s STR regulations.