Short-Term Rentals

A short-term rental (STR) is defined in the Orinda Municipal Code as a dwelling that is leased or rented in full or in part for the purpose of overnight lodging for less than thirty (30) consecutive day terms. Effective October 5, 2017, any person who operates a short-term rental must first register their rental with the City.  

Short-Term Rental Requirements (Section 17.3.12)

  • The maximum occupancy when a property is being used for short-term rental is limited to two (2) people per bedroom plus three (3) people, calculated based on the total number of bedrooms on the property.
  • Only one short-term rental can take place on a single property at any given time.
  • The property owner and operator are jointly responsible for ensuring the short-term rental complies with all local, state, and federal health and safety requirements.
  • The property owner and operator are jointly responsible for compliance with all City regulations including those regarding noise, parking, and occupancy. 
  • While rented, the short-term rental shall not be used for any use or event that would require a Temporary Event Permit pursuant to Chapter 17.37.
  •  The short-term rental registration is non-transferable. 

Transient Occupancy Tax

In addition to registration, all short-term rentals must pay a transient occupancy tax (TOT). The Transient Occupancy Tax Return, including tax remittance, is due quarterly, on the last day of the month following the quarter. A schedule indicating the TOT deadline is included in the quarterly form. The Finance Department will issue a TOT registration certificate when you register your short-term rental.

Urgency Ordinance 19-08 (2019)

On November 19, 2019, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance 19-08. It includes the following requirements:

  • The host must fully comply with the short-term rental registration requirements described in Orinda Municipal Code section 17.3.12;
  • The short-term rental takes place on property owned by the host and containing the host’s primary residence;
  • The host personally lives on the property when it is used for short-term rentals;
  • The host is physically present to monitor and regulate activity during the short-term rental, including by meeting guests upon arrival;
  • The duration of the short-term rental is at least two nights;
  • Any on-line listings and/or advertisements authorized by the host for the short-term rental specify that the host will be present on the property and/or share the dwelling unit used for short-term rental; and
  • Any on-line listings and/or advertisements authorized by the host clearly identify the property used for short-term rental in a manner that allows the City to readily confirm that the host has registered with the City as required by Orinda Municipal Code Section 17.3.12.

The urgency ordinance is an interim basis while the City considers more permanent amendments to the existing short-term rental regulations. An urgency ordinance is effective for 45 days and may be extended up to two years. On December 19, 2019, the City Council extended the urgency ordinance for one year. On November 10, 2020, the City Council extended the urgency ordinance for a second year to November 18, 2021.

Ordinance Update (2021)

The City of Orinda is currently working on an update to the short-term rental ordinance. The proposed ordinance update would retain all the existing requirements under Section 17.3.12 and the requirements under Urgency Ordinance 19-08. In addition, it would also implement the following new requirements which are applicable to the hosting platforms:

  • Hosting platforms are required to prompt hosts to include the City-issued registration number in their listing.
  • Upon notice from the City, hosting platforms are required cease short-term rental booking transactions within five business days until notified by the City that the residential property is in compliance with Orinda’s rules.
  • Hosting platforms must retain records documenting compliance with the above stipulations for a minimum of three years after a short-term rental takes place.

On July 13, 2021, the Planning Commission approved Resolution 21-02 to recommend the proposed ordinance update. On August 3, 2021, the City Council will consider the proposed ordinance update.

Registration Process

  • Complete the Short-term Rental Registration Form (PDF) and pay the $254 registration fee.
  • Registration can be submitted by mail or email to the Planning Department.
  • Registration is valid for one year from date of issuance and must be renewed annually.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the fees? There is a registration fee of $254 and an annual renewal fee of $152.
  • How long is my registration valid for? Registration is valid for one year from date of issuance and must be renewed annually.
  • How do I renew my registration? A registration is renewed by paying the renewal fee to the Planning Department. There is no renewal form.
  • Do I need to renew my Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) certificate? No, your tax certificate does not need to be renewed.
  • What is my registration's expiration date? The expiration date is noted on your approved registration. If you have misplaced your registration, you can contact the Planning Department to obtain a copy of your approval and to verify your expiration date.
  • Is my short-term rental registration transferrable to a new property owner? No, the new owner must apply for a new short-term rental registration. 
  • What if I am no longer operating a short-term rental? Registrants who will no longer operating a short-term rental must remove all active listings and submit a completed STR Withdrawal Form
  • Do I need to register my rental if it has a minimum 30 day stay? No, rentals that require a minimum 30 days are long-term rentals that the City does not currently regulate.
  • Did my neighbor register their short-term rental? Planning staff can verify whether a property has a registered short-term rental. If staff verifies that someone is operating a short-term rental without a valid registration, we will begin code enforcement.