Short-term rental rules and complaint hotline go live

09/12/2018

A rule adopted by the county last month that requires short-term rental owners to notify neighbors about their property’s use officially went into effect last Friday. The ordinance, which will sunset in two years unless renewed by the Board of Supervisors, mandates that owners inform their tenants about county code requirements relating to noise, parking, fire access and trash disposal, and implements a complaint hotline. Owners may meet the notification requirements in a few different ways: an on-site sign, letters or door hangers. “When [owners] renew their business licenses, which they do every year, they can get a sign from the Department of Finance to post when they’re renting the short-term rental,” said Jeremy Tejirian, a planning manager with the Community Development Agency. Owners may also design their own, provided that it’s durable and its size and font are no smaller than that of the standard sign. Signs must be placed in front of the rental at least three feet above the ground and be readily visible to the public. Though David and Ellen Selzer of Mill Valley are in favor of curbing short-term rentals, they are concerned about public signs. “The hotline is a good idea, but the sign is NOT,” they wrote in a letter to Mr. Tejirian in June. “Should you ask or require these businesses to post a sign telling us all it is a rental property it would deflate our housing values, and distress any possible sale of our property.” Accordingly, the county offered alternatives in the form of door hangers or letters sent to neighbors within 300 feet of a property. “If they want to do [either], they need to have those sent before they come into the Department of Finance for their license and provide an affidavit to that fact,” Mr. Tejirian said. Regardless of the method, owners must include the following information: the name, phone number and email of a local contact person who can address concerns that arise with the rental, the street address of the short-term rental and the phone number and web address of the new Marin County Short Term Rental Hotline: (415) 399.4455 and https://hostcompliance.com/tips. Notices distributed to tenants must feature site-specific information, such as when to put out trash cans and where to park, as well as for a local contact person to whom the county’s new hotline will forward all complaints. Mr. Tejirian said he hopes owners will start including such information as quickly as possible in the usual welcome packet, alongside recommendations for local restaurants and sights. The county is not providing a template for the information’s dissemination, or for the letters and door hangers. “We care about the substance, not the format,” he said. In a July letter for the Board of Supervisors' hearing on the ordinance, Donna Clavaud, a Tomales resident and short-term rental operator, wrote that “the proposed STR Ordinance offers responsible rules and stipulations that will protect all stakeholders: community residents, STR operators, guests/visitors, local businesses, County Code officials, and public safety officials.”