Officials look to regulate Airbnbs

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, August 10, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — Officials in the Twin Cities are trying to decide how best to deal with Airbnb short-term home rentals as the Super Bowl approaches.

St. Paul has a proposed regulation that would limit rentals to only accommodating four unrelated adults. It would also require hosts to collect city taxes and become licensed, Minnesota Public Radio reported .

The rental cap could hurt business for some Airbnb hosts. Airbnb said the Twin Cities had almost 1,400 hosts who saw about 75,000 guests last year.

Email newsletter signup

“That’s going to cut my business in half essentially if I can’t rent out to larger groups for whom this situation is a good value,” said Elijah Neumann, who rents three bedrooms in his St. Paul home.

Some bed-and-breakfast owners have been pushing for Airbnbs to fall under the same regulations as their businesses.

Pam Biladeau, who owns Corban Manor Inn B&B in St. Paul, said people involved in short-term renting should be subject to licensing, inspections and guest limits.

“For short term rentals, what makes you different from other lodging or a bed and breakfast?” she said. “You’re renting one bedroom or two bedrooms or more for money. And that’s a business.”

The Twin Cities area anticipates thousands of potential Airbnb renters in February for the Super Bowl.

St. Paul’s planning commission is expected to vote on the city’s proposal Friday. It’ll then go to the City Council.

Minneapolis’s regulatory plan is still being developed. City Council member Jacob Frey believes Minneapolis should embrace short-term rentals.

“The sharing economy is coming to town, and we are going to need to figure out how to regulate to ensure safety and just parity with other industries,” he said. “But this is a new entrepreneurial and innovative model, and I want to make sure that we have it in Minneapolis.”