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Vacation Rental Violation

I received a Vacation Rental or Hosted Rental violation notice…
Now What?

The following information is for property owners who have received a violation notice for Operating a Vacation Rental without the required zoning permit or Operating a Hosted Rental without a required zoning permit.

The following information is not “all inclusive." Please contact us with any questions.

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Vacation Rental Violations

Once you have received a Notice and Order of the violation, you have 30 days to stop the violation. To stop the violation, you have two options:

  1. Obtain a permit, pay the penalty and continue the vacation rental; or
  2. Cease operations. To cease operations you will need to submit an Affidavit of Cessation, close down all the advertising and cancel all rental reservations beyond the 30 day period, and pay your penalty fee. Locate forms at: sonomacounty.ca.gov/VacationRentals

Obtain a Permit

If you choose to obtain a permit you will need to complete the Vacation Rental application (not all properties may qualify for a vacation rental permit) PJR-096 - Vacation Rentals (PDF)

Draw a Site Plan and a Floor Plan on 8.5 inch x 11 inch paper. This is a birds eye view of your property. View Site Plan guidelines: sonomacounty.ca.gov/Permit/Building-SitePlan

Home Inspection: As the application states, you will need to have a home inspection completed by a licensed contractor or home inspector. Now you can make a trip to Permit Sonoma and bring the site plan and completed home inspection to the Vacation Rental desk at Permit Sonoma.

You will need to visit the Vacation Rental desk and the Code Enforcement desk in the main Permit Center.
View Permit Center Hours

Fees: At this point, you will need to complete the payment of your permit fees as well as your penalty fees. As the Sonoma County Code states: "Enhanced penalty for non-permitted rentals. A vacation rental that is determined to be operating without the necessary permit required under this section shall be subject to a penalty of ten (10) times the normal application fee."

Hosted Rental Violations

Once you have received a Notice and Order of the violation, you have 30 days to stop the violation. To stop the violation, you have two option:

  1. Obtain a permit, pay the penalty and continue the hosted rental; or
  2. Cease operations. To cease operations you will need to submit an Affidavit of Cessation, close down all the advertising and cancel all rental reservations beyond the 30 day period and pay your penalty fees. Locate forms at: Hosted Rental Permit

Obtain a Permit

If you choose to obtain a permit, you will need to complete the application for a Hosted Rental: PJR-120 - Hosted Rentals (PDF)

Draw a Site Plan and a Floor Plan for the residence showing the room to be rented on 8.5 inch x 11 inch paper. This is a birds eye view of your property. View Site Plan guidelines: sonomacounty.ca.gov/Permit/Building-SitePlan

Home Inspection: You do not need a home inspection for a hosted rental.

Fees: You will need to pay your permit fee and penalty fee.

Important Issues

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

The vacation rental/hosted rental owner or authorized agent shall maintain a transient occupancy tax certificate and remain current on all required reports and payments. Owner or authorized agent shall include the certificate number on all contracts or rental agreements, and in any advertising or websites. This is a 12% tax that is initially charged to the guest and that you, as the owner, need to pay. You will need to pay 12% for every night paid for in your Vacation Rental/Hosted Rental to the Sonoma County Tax Collector

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

According to the Sonoma County Municipal code, you may not rent out an accessory dwelling unit (previously known as "second dwelling unit") as the Vacation Rental or Hosted Rental. (Transient Rental) 26-88-060(f) A second dwelling unit is strictly described in the code. If you have a guest house, as described in the Sonoma County Code, you may rent it as a Hosted Rental according to the code. (A guest house does not contain a kitchen.)

Penalties/Enforcement Process

Penalties and enforcement actions are specific and supported in the Sonoma County Municipal Code:

  • Vacation Rentals: 26-88-120
  • Hosted Rentals: 26-88-118

It is our goal to receive voluntary compliance by utilizing professionalism and consistency. However, if compliance is not achieved within the time-frame specified on a Notice, additional enforcement tools may be utilized.

The following information is not "all inclusive" and does not apply to every scenario. The process below is for a "typical" enforcement scenario:

  1. Complaint is received.
  2. Inspector conducts an investigation.
  3. If violation is confirmed, the County takes action to achieve compliance.

Enforcement actions will include:

  • Issuance of a Notice and Order
  • Assessment of Specific Civil Penalties

And possibly the following actions:

  • Property Liens
  • Administrative Hearings
  • County Counsel Litigation
  • Citations

Please contact our office directly for more specific information pertaining to penalties and the enforcement process.

For additional information, please visit the Code Enforcement webpage at: sonomacounty.ca.gov/PermitSonoma/CodeEnforcement

Contact Information

Address
2550 Ventura Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

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