Short Term Rental Regulations

The most impactful, and immediate thing we can do to reverse the hollowing out of our community is to enact sensible short term rental legislation (whether Santa Monica, or San Francisco, or another type).  To ensure that we are freeing up housing for families, we need to focus on legislation that will open up family sized housing units, in addition to in-law and junior dwelling units.

  • Fortunately, folks who helped create the recent San Francisco regulations are confident we can be successful.  
  • It seems possible sensible rules could almost immediately open up 30 to 50 homes for long term rental between Bolinas and Stinson Beach.
  • We now have a database tracking every short term rental in these towns.  It includes owner location (voting), lot size (for in-law unit build), review count (indicates level of activity), etc.  Insights from it so far are here. 
  • We can also begin working to encourage owners who have been renting short term (vs long term) with marginal financial gain, to go back to long term rentals with local management assistance from land trusts and others.
  • It also seems prudent to encourage a seasonal rental structure that provides housing to families during the school year, and allows the owners to reside in or rent out during the much busier summer months.  While not ideal, it is a proven, common norm in east coast seasonal communities like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • It is important to note that many of the most active short term rentals in our towns would not be affected by regulations.  Where rules have been enacted elsewhere, rooms, outbuildings, and second units are not only allowed by encouraged.

Here’s some hard data on the current short term rental situation.

Bolinas has about 47 short term rental listings.

  • 5 – Rooms
  • 3 – JDUs (small units within a house)
  • 12 – Accessory Units (detached in-law units)
  • 27 – Single Family Homes (10 local owners, 17 non-local owners).

Stinson Beach has about 140 short term rental listings.

  • 2 – Rooms
  • 0 – JDUs (small units within a house)
  • 18 – Accessory Units (detached in-law units)
  • 120 – Single Family Homes (4 local owners, 116 non-local owners).
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