Short-Term Rentals

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What Is a Short-Term Rental?

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. Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway are among the most popular short-term rental services.

Short-Term Rentals Are Prohibited in Sausalito

Sausalito Municipal Code, section 10.22.030 lists the allowable land uses in all of the Residential Zoning Districts. Transient Occupancy, which is defined in chapter 10.88 as occupancy of residential structures, hotel rooms, or dwelling units on a temporary period of less than thirty (30) days, is not listed as an allowed use; therefore, short-term rentals are not allowed. Renting is allowed for long-term occupancy, which is 30 days or greater.

Reporting a Short-Term Rental Violation

On January 8, 2019 the Council directed staff to prioritize code enforcement with respect to short-term rentals. The City of Sausalito is working with Host Compliance, a leading provider of short-term rental compliance monitoring and enforcement solutions for local governments to identify and cite short-term rentals in Sausalito. Host Compliance offers two ways you can report addresses that are potentially in violation:

  • A short term rental telephone hotline at (415) 942-8181
  • An online form to submit your complaint

Both reporting options are available 24 hours a day/seven days a week for neighbors to report non-emergency problems related to short-term rental properties. Once reported, Host Compliance transmits the report to the City of Sausalito Code Enforcement Officer to investigate.

Reports may also be made directly to the City of Sausalito by printing, signing, and submitting a Code Complaint Form.

Violations can be fined $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for the second offense, and $5,000 for the third and subsequent offenses (Sausalito Municipal Code Section 1.10.110.B). 

The Past and Future of Regulating Short-Term Rentals

At the meeting of the Sausalito City Council on January 8, 2019, the Council voted unanimously to maintain the current ban on short-term rentals of less than 30 days. A one-year pilot program allowing short-term rentals under limited conditions had been under consideration. The proposed pilot program generated a significant negative response in the community, including a petition opposing short-term rentals in Sausalito that was signed by 631 people.

The motion approved by the City Council on January 8 provided the following direction:

  • The City will continue its prohibition on short-term rentals of less than 30 days
  • City staff will prioritize code enforcement with respect to short-term rentals
  • The Council will delay for a year any consideration of a pilot program allowing short-term rentals under limited conditions
  • Mayor Joe Burns will appoint a stakeholder group that, among other responsibilities, will help the Council establish indicators to gauge the City's success in enforcing the current ban on short-term rentals
  • City staff will generate and present quarterly reports on the effectiveness of the ban on short-term rentals
  • City staff will conduct a new community survey on short-term rentals
Updates on short-term rentals in Sausalito, including reports on the effectiveness of code enforcement under the current ban, will be reported in future editions of Sausalito Currents. Any questions about short-term rentals may be directed to Community Development Director Lilly Whalen at (415) 289-4133 or lwhalen@sausalito.gov.

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