Vote on St. Paul Short-Term Rental Ordinance Delayed

October 12, 2017 10:42 PM

There could soon be more regulations for renting out your home in the Twin Cities using services like Airbnb. 

This week, both Minneapolis and St. Paul took steps to make it legal.


Despite the services operating, it's technically not in either city's current zoning law.

On Wednesday, St. Paul city council members delayed a vote on an ordinance to tweak a couple aspects of the current language. 

But avid users of the service are glad to have a voice.

RELATED: St. Paul City Council Could Finalize New Short-Term Rental Regulations

"St. Paul now has an army of people where what they want to do is help tourists understand their city," said Trudy Ohnsorg, a St. Paul resident who rents out her home with Airbnb. 

Trudy Ohnsorg lives in St. Paul and rents out her home, which was built more than 100 years ago.

"I've had guests from all over the world come to my home," Ohnsorg said. 

Ohnsorg signed up for Airbnb more than two years ago, and now rents her place to visitors almost every weekend.

But soon there may be changes. 

"We're glad that is happening," Ohnsorg said. 

"It's just adapting to the modern times of the way people travel," said Chris Tolbert, St. Paul city council member. 

Tolbert said the ordinance would make hosts responsible for a $70 annual licensing fee and include sales and lodging taxes.

"What we're trying to do is balance allowing this to happen with minimal regulations," Tolbert said. 

But Ohnsorg and others aren't too happy about one of those regulations.

"They're looking at having an off-street parking requirement which doesn't make a lot of sense," Ohnsorg said. 

Tolbert says the council is in favor of requiring at least one parking spot per home. 

"They should have some of those businesses requirements that those traditional uses would have as well," Tolbert said. 

For those without a parking spot, Tolbert suggests requesting a variance.

"I am not opposed to regulations, what we want as hosts are regulations that are fair," Ohnsorg said. 

Home sharing allowed Ohnsorg a level of connection she's thankful for. And she hopes these changes still allow her to open the doors to her purple home for years to come. 

"What's nice about sharing your home is that every home is unique," Ohnsorg said. "We want to ensure that this is a platform that continues to be one of the safest options for people."

Tolbert said they'll continue to make tweaks to the final ordinance in regard to the license price and parking. A vote should take place in the next two weeks.

In Minneapolis, the city council will vote on a similar measure later this month. Under the proposal, homeowners who move out when renters move in are required to get a $46 license each year.
Those who don't live in their home and only rent it out would have to get a standard rental license. Homeowners who continue living in their property when guests stay over would not face regulations or pay a fee.

In addition, websites like Airbnb where homeowners would have to get a $5,000 a year license.


Brett Hoffland

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