Beltrami County Council Passes Short-Term Rental Ordinance – Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — During its meeting on Tuesday, May 17, the

Beltrami County Council

commissioners passed

a short-term rental order

which will regulate and create a licensing process for operators of services like Airbnb and Vrbo in the county.

The number of short-term rentals in the county has steadily increased, and with them the

number of complaints raised by some of their neighbours.

“If you ever lived next door to one,” District 5 Commissioner Jim Lucachick said, “you wouldn’t want to be that neighbor.”

To help address these concerns and create a regulatory framework for all short-term rental landlords, the council began drafting the ordinance last summer.

The ordinance creates different types of permits for short-term rentals depending on the maximum occupancy limit. It would also require operators to use a registration system that complies with Minnesota law.

Quiet hours would exist between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. to encourage courtesy to neighbors and parking spaces should be provided on site to prevent the streets from being overcrowded.

“We think as a county council we did our best,” Lucachick said. “We’re not trying to put too much government into this.”

A key part of the ordinance is the creation of a compliant system, which will allow neighbors to report any rule violations or other concerns to the county.

These complaints can turn into strikes, and if a rental receives too many strikes, landlords could be given a misdemeanor, fined, or have their rental license revoked.

The commissioners also assured that the order could be adjusted in the future to make it more effective.

“If something doesn’t work, say in a year, come back to our committee and let people know,” District 3 Commissioner Richard Anderson said. “It’s not permanent if it doesn’t work out well.”

The order will come into effect on July 1 and the complaint system will be opened immediately. Short-term rental owners will have 90 days to complete paperwork for a permit.

“I understand this may not be the perfect document, but it’s a start,” District 4 Commissioner Tim Sumner said. “I hope it serves its purpose.”

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