Sonoma County Vacation Rental Restrictions

Our last blog about the potential restrictions of vacation rentals in Sonoma County highlighted complaints, supervisor involvement and business practices by owners.  As guests, you can do your part to calm down this volatile situation by following a general code of conduct such as being respectful of neighbors, no loud music or amplified music played outdoors, observing quiet time after 10 p.m. and so on.  The Sonoma County Task Force, endorsed by the Sonoma County Lodging Association, has put together a Code of Conduct for both property owners and guests to help keep vacation rentals as a viable lodging alternative.

Here is the Guest  Code of Conduct:
We suggest that you incorporate a code of conduct for your guests in your rental contract to avoid problems with neighbors.  Please note that parties, events, and weddings require a special use permit from the county, but unless your rental is very remote it is a good idea to prohibit them rather than obtain the permit.

Code of Conduct for Vacation Rental Guests
This home has graciously been made available for you enjoy the peace, tranquility and beauty of the neighborhood. Please bear in mind that you are staying in a residential area. We trust that you will show courtesy and respect to the neighbors and conduct yourself in a manner in keeping with the neighborhood practices and local ordinances.
1.    Maximum occupancy:  The maximum overnight occupancy of this residence is limited to the number specified in your rental agreement. Sleeping bags, air- beds, tents, and cots are not allowed.
2.    Number of people allowed on the property:  The number of people allowed on the property at any given time may not exceed the overnight occupancy without prior permission. The County has strict ordinances regarding parties, events and weddings at vacation rental homes.  If you violate this policy, the penalty specified in your rental agreement will be applied.
3.    Parking:   Please do not exceed the available parking spaces provided for the property.  Do not block neighboring driveways.  Please maintain access for emergency vehicles at all times.
5.    Speed limits:   Please observe and obey all local speed limits; drive no more than 5-10 mph on private or shared private access roads.
6.    Amplified Music and Outside Noise:  All outside music and outside noise must stop between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Please be aware that noise from loud voices, laughing, and general socializing travels in this area and results in neighborhood disturbances. Please move outdoor conversations and activities indoors after 10:00 pm. The spa may be used after 10:00 p.m. provided that voices are kept to a minimum.
7.    Respond to all noise complaints:  Please respond to ANY request, even if it appears to be unreasonable, by a neighbor, owner of this property, law enforcement or private security firm. Please contact the owner immediately if you are contacted by a neighbor or the sheriff’s office with a complaint.
8.    Trespassing:  Please do not trespass on neighboring properties.
9.    Garbage:  Please recycle all garbage. Failure to recycle will result in additional charges. Garbage must be limited to the available garbage cans. Please call the owner to arrange for removal of excess garbage. Under no circumstances may you place garbage in the garbage cans throughout the neighborhood or leave it in bags where animals are likely to rummage.
10.    Energy and Water Consumption:  Please conserve the use of water and energy.  Use “green habits” to turn off lights and appliances when not in use and to avoid wasting water.  Excessive use of water and/or energy may subject you to an energy or water use surcharge.
11.    Smoking and fires:  Smoking is not allowed inside the house and is allowed only in designated outdoor areas.  Fireworks in the house or on the property are prohibited. Please be aware that there is severe fire danger in this area, particularly during June-November.
12.    Dogs:  If your rental agreement approves of a specified dog or dogs, please make sure you clean up after the dog, that you do not leave the dog alone in the house to bark or do damage, that you confine the dog to the property you have rented, and that you keep the dog on leash off the property.

We believe that if you and your guests comply with these common sense rules, your stay will be peaceful, relaxing and fun.  Our  neighbors have been provided with a copy of these rules and will report violations if they occur. If there are any violations, please be aware that enforcement is mandatory and you will be subject to immediate eviction, forfeiture of your security deposit, and/or other significant fines and penalties.  Thank you for your anticipated understanding and cooperation.

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