Information from Monterey County on Short Term Rentals and Special Events

The following information was taken from an email sent to all Realtors from Kevin Stone, the Government & Community Affairs Director for the Monterey County Association of Realtors.  

Short Term Rentals

The issue of renting one's property, specifically on a short term basis, has been a topic clouded in confusion over the past year - especially with the increased number of owners looking to take advantage of tools such as VRBO. Below is a synopsis from the County of Monterey (all unincorporated areas) on current policy as it relates to renting one's property. Again, this is applicable to all unincorporated areas within Monterey County.

-          Long term rental (more than 30 days) for residential purposes is not regulated.

-          Non-Coastal Areas.  Short-term rentals are allowed for 7-30 days with an Administrative Permit processed through RMA-Planning (Monterey County Core Section 21.64.280).  Rental for less than 7 days is not allowed.  Bed & Breakfast use is allowed with a Use Permit processed through RMA-Planning (Monterey County Core Section 21.64.100).  Administrative Permits and Use Permits are discretionary permits that include public notice and conditions. 

-          Coastal Area.  Short term rental in coastal areas less than 30 days is not permitted.  Bed & Breakfast use is allowed with a Use Permit processed through RMA-Planning (Monterey County Core Section 20.64.100).  

-          Special Events. Renting property or a home for events in coastal or non-coastal areas requires a Use Permit for assemblage of people processed through RMA-Planning.  Hosting an event at your personal property may still require a permit.  For example, exchange of compensation (e.g. money) is an indicator of an event that requires a permit.  There are areas that will not support events due to constraints such as water and/or traffic.  

NOTE: Renting a home for less than 30 days is also subject to Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), which is a Business Code that is applied and enforced separate from land use.  Paying TOT does NOT imply, or alleviate obligation for, land use compliance.  Owners found to be renting homes without proper land use permits, regardless if TOT is paid, are subject to penalties, including fines.

A Short Term Rental Ordinance is in the works... 

County staff held multiple community meetings over the past year or so.  Draft ordinances were developed that separate out Short Term Rentals and Events, and that would apply countywide (coastal and non-coastal areas).  Supervisor Potter (District 5) convened a STR (Short Term Rental) Workgroup that met multiple times between April and May 2015.  The County will meet internally in June to discuss STR Workgroup outcomes to date and begin re-drafting a Countywide ordinance.  We anticipate we'll be drafting the ordinance and meeting with STR Workgroup through mid-summer (2 or 3 more meetings), then look to roll out a draft ordinance to the public in late summer (August 2015).  Separately County staff is meeting, by invitation from Supervisor Potter, with the Big Sur Local Coastal Program Defense Committee. This committee's desire is to meet and discuss prohibiting STRs in the Big Sur area.  

Code Compliance is generally reactive and complaint driven.  However, there are many citizens that are actively seeking unpermitted rentals and/or events and reporting them to the County.  The County will actively enforce any complaints received.  If the County finds advertisement with errors regarding what is allowed, code compliance staff will  attempt to send a courtesy notice to the Realtor identified in the notice.  Once a courtesy notice is sent, the County expects compliance and will begin citing a violation.  

Again, this is information that comes directly from the County of Monterey. Prospective buyers or current property owners who have an interest in short term rental or special event use should contact the County directly. Realtors with specific questions regarding need for, or feasibility of a permit can contact John Ford at: or (831) 755-5158.  

MCAR members and staff are actively participating in the development of the County Short Term Rental Ordinance. We will keep you updated as the process moves forward. As always, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.



Kevin Stone

Government & Community Affairs Director

Monterey County Association of REALTORS®