Rental Owner Operator Information

What is a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

TOT, also known as a "hotel tax," is authorized under State Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7280.  TOT is levied at 10% in the unincorporated Marin County for the privilege of occupying a room(s) or another living space in a hotel, inn, motel, vacation home, house or other lodging for a period of thirty days or less.  TOT is collected by the operator, but the tax is imposed on the guest. For additional information please visit: the Transient Occupancy Tax website.

What is an operator?

An operator is any person, corporation, authorized agent, management company, entity, property owner, or partnership which is a proprietor of short-term rental property.

What is the registration process?

Within thirty days after commencing business, each operator of any transient occupancy accommodation must register for two types of license with the Department of Finance:

Notification Requirements

Identification of a local contact person.

This contact person may be the property owner or a representative of the owner, such as a property manager, that will be available on short notice to address concerns that arise from the short term rental. Contact information for this person must be made available and he or she should be responsive to complaints from neighbors.

Public notification of the rental.

The main purpose of the public notification of the rental is to provide the neighbors with the contact information for the local contact person and the County short term rental hotline. There are two acceptable ways to provide this contact information to the neighbors: (1) Post a sign on the short term rental property; or (2) Post a door hanger or send a letter to surrounding properties. Before property owners obtain a new business license or renew an existing business license for a short term rental, they will need to choose one of these options, which are discussed in more detail below.

No matter which option the property owners choose, the following information is required:

  • Name of Local Contact Person (person available to respond to issues)
  • Phone number and email address of Local Contact Person
  • Street Address of Short Term Rental
  • Phone number and web address of the Marin County Short Term Rental Hotline


Those property owners that choose to post a sign for their short term rental will obtain the sign from the Marin County Department of Finance when applying for or renewing their business license. If they do not like the way the sign looks, then they can use a sign they design themselves as long as its size and font are no smaller than those of the sign provided by the Department of Finance and the sign is made of at least as durable a material.

At a minimum, the sign needs to be posted while the unit is being used as a short term rental. The sign needs to be securely placed in front of the property or unit, at a height of three to five feet above the ground or floor, in a way that it is readily visible to the public. The most appropriate location will depend on the property, but some examples are provided below.


Best Location

House near a street with a sidewalk Sign mounted on front porch or garage door
House set back from street with a fence in front Sign mounted on picket fence by gate
House set far back from street on a large lot Sign mounted on post by driveway entrance

Door Hangers or Letters

Those property owners that choose to contact their neighbors directly instead of posting a sign may do so with either a door hanger or letter. The door hangers or letters must contain all of the required information and must be delivered to all properties within 300 feet of the property with the short term rental. When a property owner applies for a new business license or a business license renewal, they will need to provide an affidavit to the Department of Finance indicating that they have notified the neighbors. If they do not provide this affidavit, then they are required to post a sign.


Any general questions about the County’s Short Term Rental Program should be emailed to our staff.