LAKEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — Instead of getting a hotel room for the night or weekend, travelers are now renting bedrooms that are inside a family’s home.

These short-term rentals of spare rooms are taking place in hundreds of homes across the metro.The reservations are made online on websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Craigslist.

Last week, the city of Lakeville put some new restrictions in place regarding this type of night-by-night rental after getting complaints from residents.

There’s nothing illegal about renting out a room in your house for a night or two at a time, but for some neighbors of homeowners who are doing it, there was something troubling.

“What’s an appropriate use within a neighborhood?,” said Steve Mielke, the Lakeville city administrator. “Rather than operating a single-family home in a neighborhood as if it was a motel or a hotel, which really isn’t what the neighborhoods are for, it became obvious in the process, that some regulation of this was necessary.”

He says some people are unnerved by the sight of unfamiliar cars and faces coming and going next door to them.

So, the city council approved zoning changes on short-term rentals that restrict the frequency of the overnight stays.

“You can only have two every 30 days,” Mielke said. “So if someone is choosing to do the nightly rentals, or the short-term rentals, less than 30, they are only allowed two of those over a 30 day period.”

One Lakeville homeowner said that he and his wife have been renting out two of their unused bedrooms for about four years without any problems. Many of the people whom the family rented to were families touring Carleton College in Northfield, which is only about 20 minutes away.

Another area homeowner said she rents rooms in her lakeside cottage out to travelers, many of which are from other countries. She said they often want to know what American home life is like.

Mielke says he gets the appeal of renting rooms. to both the guests and the homeowners. He said that right now it appears just a couple of homeowners in Lakeville are doing this, but the city felt it was time to put more rules in place.

The penalty for exceeding the number of short-term rentals in a 30-day period would be a ticket requiring a court appearance, which could result in a fine.

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