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

Code enforcement on short-term rental violations are on a complaint basis. If you wish to report short-term rental activity, please complete and submit a Code Complaint Form to the Code Enforcement Officer of the Community Development Department: (415) 289-4111 or code_enforcement@sausalito.gov. 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

In recent years, the City of Sausalito has held two community forums, conducted a survey, and appointed a Short Term Rental Task Force.

The survey asked “Should short-term rentals be allowed or prohibited in Sausalito? 63% of survey respondents said that short-term rentals should be allowed with regulations. 35% said that short-term rentals should continue to be prohibited. 2% were undecided.

At the City Council meeting on February 28, 2017, four of the five Short Term Rental Task Force members recommended establishing a pilot program to allow short-term rentals with a list of regulations and restrictions, and to review the program after one year for its compliance, enforcement, costs, permit fee, and transient occupancy tax revenues. The City Council voted 3-2 to continue to prohibit short-term rentals, disband the Short Term Rental Task Force, and address the short-term rental issue as part of the General Plan Update process.

At its meeting on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Sausalito City Council directed City staff to prepare a draft ordinance creating a one-year pilot program to allow short-term rentals in Sausalito under limited conditions. The draft ordinance is scheduled to be presented at the meeting of the City Council on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

The direction to City staff came after three of the five Councilmembers indicated that they were in support of a pilot program allowing short-term rentals under limited conditions. To better understand the issue, residents are encouraged to watch the 154-minute video recording of the short-term rentals item from the October 9 City Council meeting, along with the 25-minute video recording of a presentation by Host Compliance from the October 2 meeting of the Legislative Committee. The agenda from the October 9 meeting includes links to the documents discussed during the short-term rentals item, including late mail from residents.

If the City Council votes on October 30 to move forward with the draft ordinance, public hearings with the Planning Commission and the City Council are expected to be held in November and December 2018. For a new short-term rental ordinance to become law, it must go through an approval process that includes readings at two City Council meetings and the support of a Council majority at each reading.

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