With Super Bowl Looming, City Council OKs Short-Term Rental Regulations

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Already, a lot of people are making plans for the big weekend. That includes where they will stay.

Many cities are revising their rules for letting people rent out their homes through companies like VRBO and Airbnb. Friday, the Minneapolis City Council took up the matter.

Just off of 35W, at 1086 11th Avenue in northeast Minneapolis, a home with two bedrooms and four bathrooms and even a skyline view is already booked for the Super Bowl.

Angie Toomey rents the property.

“This was actually booked for a month by a big sponsor that’s coming in to town,” Toomey said.

Toomey runs a small vacation rental company, and the site MPLSvr. She is thrilled that the Super Bowl will be played a few short miles from her properties.

“This is probably the biggest thing we’ll ever see in Minneapolis for us as hosts and vacation rental managers,” she said.

But short-term renting has been pretty tricky in the city of Minneapolis until now. The City Council voted Friday to allow short-term rentals in the city with fees to host properties ranging from $5000 for large property rental companies down to around $600 for companies like Toomey’s.

Toomey has mixed feelings about the vote.

“I want to be able to continue hosting, that is super important, and it looks like that is going to happen. But I also want it to be fair and right now it doesn’t feel like the regulations that they have proposed are super fair,” she said.

Councilmember Jacob Frey was behind the legislation. He says they had to have some regulations or hotels could come after the city.

“This is a new and innovative business model in Airbnb and VRBO and I’m 100 percent for it, we need to embrace it,” Frey said. “Now, from a legal perspective we were required to put in some form of regulation just so we didn’t get sued and lose.”

Even though there are new costs, the short-term rental market is now wide-open.

St. Paul has been having the same conversation there for months. They will vote on a similar ordinance next week.

Airbnb responded Friday and like Toomey they believe Friday’s vote violates their rights and their attorneys will continue to fight to make it even easier for people to rent their properties:

“We’re appreciative to Councilman Frey and his colleagues for their efforts throughout the legislative process. Unfortunately, the ordinance still violates the legal rights of Airbnb and its community. We will consider all legal options to protect innovation and the privacy of Minneapolis residents.”

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