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Regulation by Local Cities in Monterey County

If your STR is in an incorporated city, Monterey County regulations do not apply. Cities enact their own regulation which varies considerably from town to town. MCVRA advocates for reasonable STR ordinances in the local cities. We oppose overly restrictive policies and we look for opportunities to improve current policies. We invite you to become a member of MCVRA. Click here.

On July 8, 2017, the Monterey Herald summarized the status of short-term rentals in Monterey peninsula cities. Click on "Different cities, different approaches to short-term rental issue on Monterey Peninsula."

On September 13, 2017 the Herald summarized the status of the City of Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Pacific Grove. See Monterey to enforce daily fines on short-term rental operators.


The town bans all STRs in residential areas and is cracking down. See the Monterey County Weekly article dated December 15, 2106. Also see Carmel Pine Cone Short-Term Rentals Crackdown Is Working, Says Carmel Attorney Dozens of listings pulled from internet The town has contracted with Host Compliance to scour the internet looking for violations. Ignoring Carmel's ban can result in very large fines! One owner settled with the town for $25,000 after facing an even larger amount. See Carmel settles short-term rental lawsuit while announcing amnesty period for other scofflaws. STRs are allowed to continue in areas zoned commercial.

Del Rey Oaks

On May 22, 2018 the Del Rey Oaks City Council unanimously approved what is the most permissive short-term rental ordinance on the Monterey Peninsula. The ordinance puts no cap on either hosted or un-hosted rentals. See A small city bucks a regional trend and allows short-term rentals with few restrictions.


The Marina City Council has enacted an STR ordinance. It prohibits STRs in non-hosted second homes but permits STRs in an owner's primary residence allowing those owners to rent a room or to rent the entire house while they travel. MCVRA explained to the the Council that most travelers do not want a host/owner present during their stay. The Council believes second home STRs impact affordable housing and work force housing. MCVRA also explained why this thinking is inaccurate. Primary home owners will need to sign up for permit and pay TOT tax. 

City of Monterey 

The City simply bans any rental for less than 30 days. An STR operated in Monterey is illegal! The City has now adopted an ordinance that prohibits ADVERTISING short-term rentals in the City’s residential zoned districts. The City has contracted with Host Compliance to scour the internet looking for violations. The city claims to have put over 100 owners on notice. See:

City of Monterey notice and also City of Monterey ordinance.  Since 2014 five citations for violating the City's prohibition on short-term residential rentals have been appealed to the Superior Court. The City prevailed in all five cases.

Pacific Grove

Since 2010, Pacific Grove had an STR ordinance allowing homeowners to get an annual STR license to either rent no more than 90 days per year or an unlimited amount. The unlimited STR licenses at were capped at 250. There were other restrictions involving how close two permitted STRs could be and density limits in neighborhoods. In 2017, when the City Council decided to combine both types of STR licenses bringing the total number of licenses up to 289. In December 2017, the City Council decided to hold the lottery to meet the restrictions. A group of Pacific Grove STR owners called STRONGpg sued the city asking for an injunction to stop the Lottery. See STR owners sue city. Stating that STR owners had no right to expect their licenses to be renewed, the court ruled against an injunction.

On May 28, 2018 the lottery indiscriminately eliminated 51 STR licenses, far more than the City Council had anticipated. Two schoolteachers lost their license. So did a local family whose ex-army father is handicapped. Ditto for the family who uses the income to support a bedridden sister with multiple sclerosis. Owners with pages of complaints lodged against their rental got to keep their license. Owners without a single complaint lost theirs. Newcomers to the STR program kept their license. Old timers lost theirs. Properties losing their licenses had to cease short-term rentals by April 30, 2019.

But it got much worse! A group of Pacific Grove opponents obtained enough verified signatures to put Measure M, a complete ban on STRs in all but the coastal zone and commercial areas, on the November 2018 ballot. MCVRA fought Measure M but on November 6, 2018, Pacific Grove voters chose to give up property rights by passing Measure M. Despite the fact that each of them could be only a divorce, a medical event, or a job loss away from needing to rent their homes, Pacific Grove voters chose to limit STRs to the commercial and coastal zones. See Monterey County Weekly. 160 STRs had to cease by June 1, 2019. Homeowners operating an STR in Pacific Grove without a license are subject to very large fines. See Carmel Pine Cone article.

We are deeply saddened that the anti-STR contingent hurt so many homeowners as well as the local labor force that helps maintain these homes. The City’s budget will also take a hit at a time of looming pension obligations and upcoming capital expenditures on infrastructure improvements like sewers, roads, street lights, and children’s programs like youth recreation, baseball fields, and playgrounds.


This city considers all STRs in residentially zoned areas to be illegal. The Salinas city code lists allowed uses in residential zones. Since the listed uses does not include STRs, the use is prohibited. 


The Monterey County Vacation Rental Alliance (MCVRA) worked closely with the Seaside city council to create a very fair short-term rental (STR) ordinance. We are pleased that in just a few months Seaside approved the ordinance. In early July 2018, the Seaside City Council unanimously adopted a very simple STR ordinance that took effect on August 5, 2018. You can get details about the ordinance and how to apply for a license by going to: Seaside ordinance.

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