Marin County: Incentives Created for Second Dwelling Units

Through 2018, upwards of $1,500 in fees waived for certain in-home rentals

Photo by Melanie Nathan: Gateway to Marin, The Golden Gate Bridge.

San Rafael, CA
– With Marin County experiencing a severe housing crisis, especially for affordable homes for lower income residents, the County of Marin is encouraging the creation of room rentals within existing residences.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors recently voted to waive building and planning fees over the next year for such rentals, called junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs), that typically contain a wet bar and other small food preparation facilities.

Brian Crawford, Director of the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), said the fee waiver was prompted by the strain on the regional housing market caused by the loss of thousands of homes from the recent North Bay fires.

“We think it’s a good time to step up our efforts to incentivize property owners to consider creating these units,” Crawford said. “If this temporary program proves to be popular, it could really help alleviate the stress of the severe lack of stock we’re seeing in the local housing market.”

The fee waiver is capped at $1,500 for each permit request received before December 31, 2018. Any property owner who benefits from the fee waiver would be prohibited from renting the junior unit as a short-term rental, meaning for 30 days or less, for one year.

In recognition of some of the highest housing costs in the nation, the State of California has eased regulations on the creation of JADUs. Three bills went into effect in January 2017 to create more freedom for property owners to effectively use rooms within their homes as longer-term rentals.

In March 2017, the County made amendments to its Development Code to implement state law and to let a property owner have one JADU in addition to one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), on the same property; ADUs are allowed to have a complete kitchen as compared to the small food preparation facilities allowed for JADUs.

For more information on the applicable standards and permit process for JADUs and ADUs, contact the Marin County Building and Safety office at 415-473-6550 or check the Building and Safety Code Division webpage.

Melanie Nathan
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