Airbnb has made quite the splash as a way to make some extra cash or find an affordable place to stay on vacation. Despite some “buyer beware” stories, not to mention politicians who have accused the company of running illegal, tax-free hotels, it’s a service that can increase tourism spending and help residents make an extra buck. This February, the Super Bowl will be held in Minneapolis, which has many locals asking: “Can I use Airbnb to rent out my place to football fans?”
The answer is yes, but the Twin Cities will make you jump through a number of hoops first.
In the digital age, finding a rental property is fairly easy. Although 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, starting your search with Airbnb is often the easiest way to find an affordable property. Still, not every rental will live up to expectations, partially due to the fact that Airbnb does not inspect properties nor maintain responsibility for compliance with local ordinances. That’s why the Twin Cities are taking steps to protect those who use the service — but it may be at the financial expense of hosts. Not only will hosts have to pay an annual licensing fee, but they’ll also be subject to city taxes, parking requirements, and official inspections.
According to city officials, this is a compromise that will put safeguards in place while still benefiting from all Airbnb can bring to the area — just in time for the Super Bowl.
Minneapolis Council Member Jacob Frey said in a statement, “[Airbnb] is a business that we want in our city. Our goal was to provide the very baseline of safety and allow a new and innovative business to function.”
But these new ordinances, which will go into effect in December, have been met with mixed reviews. Airbnb, for one, isn’t particularly pleased.
What Do Twin Cities Hosts Need To Know About the New Airbnb Regulations Before the Super Bowl?
Included in the ordinances is the rule that only four short-term rentals will be allowed in apartment buildings equipped with more than eight units (with the potential for more with a conditional use permit issued on a case-by-case basis). Owners of buildings with four, six, or eight units are limited to renting out only half through these services, while owners of single-family homes, duplexes, and triplexes can lease out only one short-term rental unit. While there are exceptions if these buildings are occupied by the owner (and if the owner is present during the rental), Airbnb has expressed opposition to the limits — and to the $10,000 annual platform licensing fee they’ll have to pay to the city.
The company noted in a statement to the Pioneer Press, “On behalf of our Saint Paul hosts, we are disappointed the city is moving forward with an ordinance that will lead to low compliance and imposes platform requirements in violation of federal law. We will consider all legal options to protect innovation and the privacy of our Twin Cities host community.”
Many residents and Airbnb hosts won’t be happy about these new regulations, either. Although approximately 33% of renters move each year, evictions have become a huge issue in the Twin Cities due to the shortage of affordable housing. Data from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs shows that more than 6,000 eviction notices were filed in Hennepin County and 2,900 were filed in Ramsey County just last year. While not all filings result in eviction, many do, which forces residents to move out with few other options available for housing.
In Nevada, tenants have five days to pay overdue rent before a landlord can file for eviction, but in Minnesota, landlords aren’t even required to give notice before filing in many cases. In order to avoid the possibility of eviction, some local residents have turned to Airbnb to cover their expenses. Between the costs of living and tuition, many students rely on the platform to break even. Students rent out extra rooms or even their entire space if they choose to travel home, but the appeal of using Airbnb to make money in the Twin Cities could decrease significantly if cash-strapped coeds are forced to pay registration fees. Although the platform is thought to be safer, the monetary factor could cause some to turn to totally unregulated sites like Craigslist instead.
But for many Twin Cities families, Airbnb could still be a great way to rake in some post-holiday dough. Since the Twin Cities area has fewer hotel rooms to begin with, homeowners can charge quite a bit for lodgings. Before you decide to take the leap, however, you should make sure that you comply with all current regulations and weigh the pros and cons of renting out your home to potentially rowdy sports fans. And if you do decide to host through Airbnb, these tips may help you safeguard your home and further inform you on the best practices to follow.