Minneapolis and St. Paul Enact Short-Term Rental Ordinances

Just in time for the huge influx of people expected in the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl, both Minneapolis and St. Paul recently enacted city ordinances that require property owners renting their property out on a short-term basis – for instance, through Airbnb or VRBO – to obtain a rental license. Minneapolis will begin accepting short-term rental applications on December 1, and St. Paul will start accepting applications on December 2.

In effect, anyone considering or preparing to rent, as well as those currently renting, their property on a short-term basis in St. Paul or Minneapolis – whether for the Super Bowl or otherwise – must be aware of the requirements imposed by these two ordinances. The basic components of these two ordinances follow:

Coverage & Exceptions

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul generally define a short-term rental as a property rented out and used for living purposes for a period of less than 30 consecutive days. Every property owner that intends to use their property as a short-term rental in either St. Paul or Minneapolis must apply for and obtain a rental license from the city in which the property is located. Only Minneapolis has an exception to this license requirement, which exempts property that (1) is owner-occupied, (2) where only a portion (i.e., a room) of the property is rented, and (3) the owner occupies the property during the rental period.

License Costs

In St. Paul, the cost for the short-term rental host license is $40.00 per property. In contrast, the cost for Minneapolis’s short-term rental license varies depending on the type and classification (i.e., “tier”) of property. According to Minneapolis’s short-term rental website:

The short-term rental registration fee is $46. Rental licenses for Tier 1 properties will range from $70 to $175, plus $5 for each additional unit, and $112 to $350 for Tier 2 property, plus $5 for each additional unit.

Notably, Tier 3 property in Minneapolis is not eligible for short-term rental registration or use as a short-term rental dwelling.

Zoning Limitations

St. Paul limits the number of “rental dwelling units” permitted. Specifically, for properties with more than 1 dwelling unit, only 50% of dwelling units on the property can be short-term rentals, up to a max of four total units. However, St. Paul allows the number of short-term dwelling units to exceed the maximum of four if the owner obtains a conditional use permit. Additionally, all units of owner-occupied duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes can be rented as short-term rentals. The following table summarizes these rules:

Type of Property Number of Short-term Dwelling Units Permitted (applies to St. Paul only)
Single Family Home 1 short-term dwelling unit
Duplex –          Non-owner occupied – 1 short-term dwelling unit

–          Owner occupied and present – 2 short-term dwelling units

Triplex –          Non-owner occupied – 1 short-term dwelling unit

–          Owner occupied and present – 3 short-term dwelling units

Fourplex –          Non-owner occupied – 2 short-term dwelling unit

–          Owner occupied and present – 4 short-term dwelling units

Six-Unit 3 short-term dwelling units
Eight-Unit

 

4 short-term dwelling units
Larger Apartment/Condo 4 short-term dwelling units

Minneapolis limits the number of dwelling units in short-term rentals to the number permitted by the property’s applicable zoning code.

License Application

Those obtaining a short-term rental license from St. Paul must provide the following:

  1. A completed short-term rental application
  2. An affidavit of compliance for all safety requirements (contained within application)
  3. Proof of a certificate of insurance (at least $300,000 of liability insurance or rental conducted through a rental platform that provides equal or greater coverage)
  4. Payment of license fee
  5. If property is non-owner occupied, proof of a current Fire Certificate of Occupancy

Similarly, a short-term rental license application in Minneapolis must include:

  1. A completed short-term rental application
  2. Affirmation of compliance with Minneapolis’s rental licensing standards (contained within application)
  3. Payment of applicable license fee

Penalties

Operating as a short-term rental in Minneapolis without a short-term rental license is a misdemeanor. In St. Paul, operating or advertising as a short-term rental (including on an online website/platform) is a petty misdemeanor.

Other Miscellaneous Requirements

Saint Paul

  • Short-term rentals cannot be used for commercial or social events
  • Provide local contact information to all short-term rental guests during a guest’s stay
  • Post various safety and emergency information
  • Remit all applicable local, state, and federal taxes unless a short-term rental platform does this on the host’s behalf
  • Maintain current register of all tenants/guests
  • No exterior identification sign is permitted within residential districts
  • Permit inspection of property

Minneapolis

  • Post the short-term rental license
  • Post a “Who to Call” poster
  • Maintain current register of all tenants/guests
  • Permit inspection of property

Bottom Line

For current and potential short-term rental hosts in St. Paul and Minneapolis, it is important to not take these ordinances lightly. With the Super Bowl quickly approaching, it is likely both cities will begin policing enforcement of these policies in the near future. While some questions remain, these new ordinances are here to stay – even beyond the Super Bowl. Putting the time in now to familiarize yourself and comply with these ordinances will save you headaches and added costs in the future.