Marin County supervisors consider limiting number of short-term rentals

Major changes could be coming for the short-term rental market in the North Bay as the Marin County supervisors on Thursday will meet to discuss limiting the number of short-term rentals that operate in the county.

County supervisors will consider overhauling how short-term rentals, sometimes called STRs, which are homes rented for fewer than 30 days at a time — are regulated in the unincorporated lands, including the coastal hamlets around Stinson Beach, Point Reyes and Tomales Bay. 

So how could this change? They could impose a hard cap or limit on the number of STRs. They also want to set specific limits for specific cities, though other areas like Dillon Beach and Seadrift would be exempt. 

Many who own short-term rentals voiced their concern over this possible change, including one man who says renting his Dillon Beach house has allowed him to keep his property.

"I'm a homeowner, a working-class person, a volunteer firefighter about to go on Social Security next month," Dennis said. "My partner is a school bus driver for the Shoreline School District and we use our home occasionally, rent it out as a temporary rental to help supplement our rental, so we could afford to stay in Dillon Beach."

When listening to public comment from November, about 85-percent of people who spoke said they owned homes on Dillon Beach. 

No one in favor of the limit spoke publicly at the meeting. 

Though some argue the limit could be the answer to the housing crisis, freeing up homes for those long-term or permanent residents.

However, Butch Haze, a luxury real estate agent in the Bay Area said limiting STR's could do more harm than good. 

"This will not affect the housing crisis," Haze said. "It's the fact that a starting home in Marin is well over a million dollars."

Haze said it could also damage the tourism industry in the area given that there are no major hotels in the area.