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Update on Short-Term Rental Enforcement

Post Date:06/21/2019 3:10 PM

Prioritized enforcement of the City of Sausalito ban on short-term rentals resulted in a more than 50% decline in the number of short-term rental listings between January and June 2019, according to a report presented to the City Council on June 18. One hundred and seven different Sausalito units were listed for short-term rental in January 2019. In June 2019, that number had fallen to 52. A short-term rental is defined as the rental of a dwelling unit, accessory unit, a room, or rooms of a dwelling unit for a period of less than 30 days. 

At the direction of the City Council, short-term rental enforcement has been a City of Sausalito priority since January 8, 2019. Later that month, the City entered into a contract with Host Compliance to assist staff in identifying short-term rental properties and notifying their owners. Identification is an important part of the enforcement process because the specific addresses of short-term rentals are not advertised on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.

In late April and early May 2019, City staff sent a courtesy letter to 48 newly identified Sausalito property owners associated with short-term rentals. The letter informed property owners that short-term rental activity must stop in order to avoid increasingly steep fines. In response to the courtesy letters, listings were removed for 18 properties and 5 listings were modified to rent for more than 30 days.

In early June 2019, property owners who did not respond to the April/May courtesy letter were sent a compliance order advising them to comply with Sausalito regulations immediately or fines would be issued. Violations are fined at $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for the second offense, and $5,000 for the third and subsequent offenses, per Sausalito Municipal Code section 1.10.110.B. Fines are cumulative and citations may be issued each day the violation exists.

As part of its enforcement efforts, the City will also be collecting transient occupancy tax for all illegal short-term rental activity occurring on or after January 8, 2019. A conservative estimate from City staff is that a total of $18,000 is owed by operators of illegal short-term rentals.

City staff expects the number of short-term rental listings in Sausalito to continue to decrease as more properties are identified and noticed, and as more owners of existing and prospective short-term rental properties become aware of the City's enforcement efforts.

Host Compliance provides a mechanism for people to report suspected illegal short-term rental activity. Reports can be made by calling the Host Compliance hotline at (415) 942-8181 or by filling out an online form. Reports may also be made directly to the City of Sausalito by printing, signing, and submitting a Code Complaint Form.

Any questions about short-term rentals in Sausalito may be directed to Community Development Director Lilly Whalen at (415) 289-4133 or The Community Development Department will be submitting quarterly reports on short-term rental enforcement. The next report will be provided in September 2019. 


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