With the Superbowl approaching, many people who live in or own property in Minneapolis may be wondering if they can make a few dollars by renting their homes or rooms to out of town visitors.
Under new regulations passed by the city council Friday, some of those people may have to pay the city in order to legally join the home sharing economy.
The regulations apply to people who rent their homes or the companies which facilitate the rentals. Those are the host platforms, like Airbnb or VRBO.
People who rent a section of their dwelling, but don't leave during the rental period, won't be required to do anything.
If homeowners wants to rent their house and stay somewhere else during that period, they will be required to apply for a short term rental registration. It will cost $46.
People with non-occupied rental properties that meet certain standards can apply for a short term designation on their license. That could cost an owner anywhere from $70 to $350, more for multiple properties.
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The new regulations were sponsored by council member Jacob Frey.
"What we've tried to do is pass an ordinance that would allow flexibility and that would allow a new and innovative business model to succeed with as few impediments as possible while also insuring safety," said Frey, who is also running to be the city's next mayor.
The council also imposed a $5,000 fee on the host platforms. However, after hearing concerns raised by smaller organizations such as condominium boards, Frey introduced an amendment creating a lower fee for platforms with fewer than 150 units. Those groups will pay $630.
But that's still cost prohibitive, said Angie Toomey, who runs a company called Minnesota Vacation Rentals. She said platforms like hers will have to pass that expense off to the hosts.
"I can't pass that fee on to my clients," said Toomey. "Whereas Airbnb and the Expedia family of VRBO Homeaway, they can easily pass that on to all of its hosts. That's the difference. Minneapolis is creating an unfair playing field."
Airbnb also doesn't like the regulations. Spokesperson Ben Breit released a company statement that starts with an expression of appreciation for the council's efforts. "Unfortunately, the ordinance still violates the legal rights of Airbnb and its community," reads the statement. "We will consider all legal options to protect innovation and the privacy of Minneapolis residents."
The statement doesn't detail what part of the regulations allegedly violates their rights. Nor does it say what kind of legal options are on the table.
One council member voted against the new measures. Andrew Johnson said he doesn't think home sharing needed to be regulated.
The city will start taking applications for short term rental licenses and for platforms in December. Meanwhile, the St. Paul City Council is considering a set of similar regulations and may vote on them next week.