Sep 6 2014

Short Term Rental of Piedmont Housing: Yes or No ?

Will Piedmont’s houses become commercialized?

Per City Council direction, staff will introduce for Planning Commission comment, discussion, and direction the topic of short-term rentals of properties in Piedmont.

Monday, September 8, 2014, the Piedmont Planning Commission will discuss short-term rentals of Piedmont housing.  Currently, there are restrictions on these increasingly popular rentals.  Complaints based on noise, unfamiliar individuals in neighborhoods, taxis, crime potentials, irregular comings and goings, and parking issues have been received by the City Council, staff, and Planning Commission. Benefits appear to go to the owner/lister while presenting problems for others.

Piedmont, long established as a primarily single-family residential city, has for a century spurned commercial encroachment on the City’s character. Use of housing for private gain while disadvantaging neighboring home owners has increasing been difficult to thwart due to internet promotion.  Money made from short-term rentals is sometimes viewed by individual homeowners as a lucrative way to off-set high mortgage payments and property tax demands.

The Piedmont City Council has asked the Planning Commission to consider the pros and cons of short-term rentals and provide advice.

The short-term rental agenda item is #10, the last item of the Planning Commission agenda at the September 8 meeting. The public is welcome  to attend or view on KCOM or on the City website :

 “you might want to tune into KCOM, cable 20 or by logging onto the city’s website at on the right hand side of the homepage under the “City Council” heading, click on the “Online Video” link, then scroll down under the “Sections on this Page” heading, click on the “Planning Commission” link, then on the “September 8, 2014” heading, click on the “In Progress” (live) link, and be prepared to come on down to City Hall as the meeting progresses closer to Agenda #10.”

Some of the companies providing short-term rentals are: Airbnb, Flipkey, Craigslist,HomeAway, Roomorama, Stopsleepgo, TravelMob, BedyCasa, ZenRentals, WaytoStay, Interhome, Windu

How are Short Term Rentals Currently Regulated in Piedmont?

– Renting a Portion of the House: Piedmont residents wishing to rent out a room in their house for fewer than 30 days may not do so pursuant to Section 17.39.2:17.39.2  The owner of a single family dwelling unit in any zoning district is permitted to rent one or more bedrooms in the dwelling unit, when the circumstances fit the definition of a rented room at Section 17.2.58B:

Rented room means the renting of a room or any combination of rooms within an existing single-family dwelling where:

(a) one or more rooms, including at least one bedroom eligible for use as a bedroom, is rented to a single lessee under a single rental agreement, not for the entire dwelling;

(b) for a minimum of 30 consecutive days;

(c) with the common use of the primary kitchen facilities, and with no temporary or permanent cooking facilities in the rented room(s);

(d) with either shared or separate bathroom

– Renting the Entire House: Property owners who wish to rent their entire house may currently do so for any amount of time.

– Renting an Existing Approved Second Unit That is Not a Rent- Restricted Unit – Owners with a legally approved second unit (not including rent-restricted units) may currently rent it for any amount of time.

“It is important to note that any rental, whether for one year or one day, is subject to Piedmont’s rental tax.”

A recent scan of listings in Piedmont on one website,, showed 8 listings.

“It is not easy to tell what the addresses for these properties are (you must book the rental in order to get an address), but from the map, it does not appear that the current listings match the locations where we have received resident complaints, indicating that there are more properties with such listings. This is just one of the companies (and it tends to have the most market share), but it can be assumed that there are listings on Craigslist, and other internet-based sites.”

Piedmont Planning staff believes that currently, most of the owners of these short-term rentals are not paying rental taxes. Of six known, or strongly suspected property owners who are renting to short-term renters, four have not yet paid a rental tax on their properties, although two property owners who were advised by the City of the regulations, submitted Intent to Rent forms.

Effect on Housing Element – 

“In addition to the concerns expressed by Piedmont residents, staff have concerns about the effect on the City’s housing supply, especially the more affordable second units. The City has worked hard at meeting our Regional Housing Needs Assessment by providing second units and room rentals (for more than 30 days) as a way of providing lower cost housing while maintaining Piedmont’s single-family character, without the requirement of up-zoning that has occurred in other communities. Each house, second unit or room rental that is rented for short periods to different people, are units that are not providing needed housing to people who wish to reside in and create ties with the community.”

Given the direction by the City Council for an examination of this issue, there are several options offered by  the Planning Department for Commission and Council consideration:

– Prohibit all rentals for fewer than 30 days. This would require a Code change to prohibit single-family residences and second units from being rented for fewer than 30 days. Staff would need to work with the City Attorney so that the policies are developed in compliance with State and Federal law.

– Permit An Entire House to be Rented for fewer than 30 days. No change in the Municipal Code is needed, as this is currently allowed. However, the City might wish to consider a registration requirement, regular safety inspections and either the creation of an occupancy tax, which is assessed up-front, or the current rental tax. The current rental tax is assessed annually based on rent collected for the prior year. The tax is a minimum of $200 or gross receipts multiplied by .01395, whichever is greater. Property owners are required to provide tax receipts, lease agreements, or the Federal Form 1040 as proof of rent collected.

– Permit Second Units that are not Rent-Restricted to be Rented for fewer than 30 days –  No change in the Municipal Code is needed, as this is currently allowed. However, the City might wish to consider a registration requirement, regular safety inspections and either the creation of an occupancy tax, which is assessed up-front, or the current rental tax.

– Permit a Room or Rooms to be Rented for fewer than 30 days – This would require an amendment to Section 17.39 of the Municipal Code. Additionally, the City might wish to consider a registration requirement, regular safety inspections and either the creation of an occupancy tax, which is assessed up-front, or the current rental tax.


Comments addressing the issue may be sent to the Planning Commission through Kate Black at or via a phone call to her at 420-3063.

Members of the Planning Commission are:

Phillip Chase, Susan Ode (Chair), Louise Simpson, Tony Theophilos, Tom Zhang, and Eric Behrens (Alternate)

Council Liaison is Tim Rood – 239-7663

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