Short-term rentals are now legal in Minneapolis and St. Paul, if you sign up. Very few people have.
Thinking of listing your spare bedroom or entire home in Minneapolis or St. Paul as an Airbnb rental during the Super Bowl?
To do this legally, you may need to adhere to new rules. In October, Minneapolis and St. Paul joined a growing list of cities, including San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle, in passing rules that both legalize short-term rentals on web platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway and set rules that govern them. The adoption of ordinances also allows cities to collect fees and taxes on increasingly popular rentals.
In the Twin Cities, the rules are just coming into effect, with the licensing process starting in Minneapolis on December 1 and in St. Paul on December 2. As of Friday, Minneapolis had 18 requests on hand to be hosts, while St. Paul’s had 32.
That’s a tiny fraction of the 1,800 active short-term rental listings (across 25 platforms) in Minneapolis, and about 500 active listings in St. Paul as of October, according to data from HostCompliance, a company that helps cities monitor short term rentals. . Some rent thousands of dollars a night during Super Bowl weekend.
The new rules
In Minneapolis, Hosts who rent a room in a house they live in while guests are there are not required to register or obtain a license. If hosts live there, but check out when guests arrive, they must pay $ 46 per year to register their short-term rental. If they do not live in the accommodation and do not rent it out, even on a short-term basis, they must obtain a standard rental permit, the cost of which varies depending on the property. While hosts must pay licensing and registration fees, the city does not impose additional taxes on hosts.
In Saint-Paul, the annual fee for a short term rental license is $ 40 per unit, regardless of the size of the unit or whether the hosts occupy it at the same time as the guests or not. Hosts must obtain a Fire Occupancy Certificate, which certifies that the property meets safety codes and subjects it to regular inspection, if the rental is not owner occupied. Hosts are also required to pay taxes (the lodging tax in St. Paul is 3 percent).
Due to their peer-to-peer nature and the fact that rental platforms have been reluctant to help cities crack down on scofflaws, short-term rentals are difficult to enforce. But both cities will make efforts to do so.
If hosts operate without a rental license in Minneapolis, they can be fined $ 500, which can double if not resolved by the due date. Minneapolis will first warn hosts that they are not in compliance before issuing notices of violation, city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie wrote in an email.
For the months of December and January, St. Paul’s focus is on guest education, Dan Niziolek, deputy director of St. Paul’s safety and inspections department, wrote in an email. About 30 people attended a workshop hosted by the city in late November, and St. Paul plans to send letters with notifications of the new rules to current short-term rental hosts.
After that comes execution. Operating a short-term rental in St. Paul without a license is a minor offense punishable by a $ 300 fine, Niziolek wrote.
One of the first to apply for St. Paul’s listing was Linda Snouffer, an aspiring short-term rental hostess, who submitted the documents last week. She told MinnPost that she wanted the listing to rent a house she owns next to the one she lives in in time to rent it during the Super Bowl.
So far, so good. She had to do some updates on the electrical work in the house to make sure the insurance would cover the short-term rental, and she’s waiting for the Fire Marshal to do an inspection in order to get a certificate. of occupancy, a requirement for short term rentals in St. Paul that are not owner occupied.
Once the city gives the green light, it should be allowed to legally register the property.
Locals like Snouffer are ready to make much of the change. According to Airbnb, a private unit that accommodates four people has earning potential of $ 1,483 per month in Minneapolis and $ 1,254 in St. Paul, assuming four people and 50% of nights booked.
Airbnb and other platforms aren’t meeting some of the requirements of the Twin Cities Ordinances, and so far it’s unclear whether they will comply. Neither city had received a request for a short-term rental platform earlier this week. Registration requirements include an annual fee of $ 10,000 in St. Paul, or a fee of $ 5,000 for large rigs / $ 630 for small rigs in Minneapolis. Small platforms are defined as those with less than 150 active ads.
The Internet Association, a trade group representing internet companies and short-term rental platforms including Airbnb, HomeAway and Expedia, released a statement following Minneapolis’ adoption of Airbnb rules that the new rules violate federal law. In a statement, Airbnb clarified that it believes some of the platform requirements violate the Federal Communications Decency Act 1996, which made the platforms not responsible for the content of third parties on their sites.
Benjamin Breit, spokesperson for Airbnb, declined to say whether the platform will seek platform licenses, as required by the new ordinances, in either city.
He responded to MinnPost’s email inquiries with a statement from Airbnb that followed the passage of the Airbnb ordinance in October in Minneapolis.
While the company said it appreciates the city council’s efforts, “the ordinance still violates the legal rights of Airbnb and its community. We will be looking at all legal options to protect innovation and the privacy of Minneapolis residents, ”he says.
“Due to the legal situation, unfortunately I cannot say anything,” he wrote.