Short-Term Rentals

2019 - Ordinance Review

In response to the tragic Halloween party shooting at a non-hosted Airbnb rental that claimed five lives and injured several others, the City of Orinda is revising its ordinance addressing short-term rental properties and enacting emergency measures aimed at protecting public safety. 

On November 5, 2019, just days after the shooting, the Orinda City Council took hours of public comment and directed staff to develop an urgency moratorium prohibiting "non-hosted" short-term rentals on an interim basis while it considers more permanent code amendments. The staff report for the November 5, 2019 City Council meeting can be viewed here. A video recording of the meeting can be watched here.

Non-hosted short-term rentals are generally defined as those in which property owners rent out an entire house/property and are not present during the guest's stay. However, more specific details on what would constitute hosting vs. non-hosting were not yet worked out as of November 12, 2019. Language of the urgency ordinance is to come back to the council on November 19, 2019.

While an emergency ordinance would last for 45 days, the City could approve extensions and have up to two years to develop and adopt a permanent ordinance strengthening its existing policies on short-term rentals. Public hearings will be a part of that process. 

Registration Process (City Council Ordinance 17-04)

  • Complete the Short-term Rental Registration Form (PDF).
  • Registration can be submitted via mail or in person during the Planning Department open counter hours: Monday - Thursday 12:30 - 5:00 PM.
  • Registration is valid for one year from date of issuance and must be renewed annually along with a renewal fee of $52. Tax Certificate does not require renewal. 

Transient Occupancy Tax

Short-Term Rental property owners must pay a quarterly transient occupancy tax (TOT). The quarterly tax return form will be provided by the Finance Department upon issuance of a TOT registration certificate. The TOT registration form is included in the Short-term Rental Registration Form. 

The Transient Occupancy Tax Return, including tax remittance, is due quarterly, on the last day of the month following the quarter (Calendar is provided on the TOT Quarterly form).

If the tax return is late, the penalty and interest section is provided to assist in the calculations.

Short-Term Rental Requirements

  • Registration is to be renewed on an annual basis.
  • Registration is non-transferable.
  • The rental unit can not be used for any use that would require a Temporary Event Permit.
  • The maximum occupancy on the subject property used for Short-Term rental is two people per bedroom plus an additional three 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 (if applicable) are jointly responsible for ensuring the rental space complies with all local, state, and federal health and safety requirements.
  • The property owner and operator (if applicable) are jointly responsible for compliance with all City regulations, including those regarding noise, parking, and occupancy.
  • A local contact person must be available 24 hours a day to accept phone calls and respond in person within 30 minutes if code compliance issues arise.