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Detroit Lakes Stiffens Regulations for Vacation Rentals

Detroit Lakes Stiffens Regulations for Vacation Rentals Click to Enlarge

DETROIT LAKES, MN--The City of Detroit Lakes is about to tighten the reins on vacation rental and Airbnb properties in the city. The City Council moved forward with the first reading of a short-term rental ordinance to regulate what's becoming an increasing industry, especially in tourist areas. The ordinance among other things requires a conditional use permit for short term rental properties which includes an inspection and payment of a the city's lodging tax.

City Attorney Charlie Ramstad at Tuesday's meeting explained the ordinance to council members and others in attendance. He said the city is addressing a situation that already occurs in the city.

"Probably not in every neighborhood, but you can take a look at the VRBO- or Airbnb.com websites and find that this [short term rental] is actually occurring. And what this ordinance does, from my perspective, is it allows the city to have some regulation of a business activity that is already occurring but is not regulated at all either by the state or by the city...now we will have the ability to provide some enforcement action whereas under the current regulations and current state law we do not."

Detroit Lakes Council members agreed that regulation needs to happen with these properties. Members also agreed that the local lodging industry has been after the city for some time to level the playing field when it comes to regulations for short term lodging in residential areas.

Among requirements laid out in Ordinance 441: The short term property owner must go through the conditional use permit process which includes notification of residents in the neighborhood and a public hearing. An inspection by the city building inspector will be required, payment of an annual rental permit fee as well as payment of the local lodging tax, and further parking and safety conditions based on city code.

Those properties currently listing themselves as VRBO's or Airbnb's must adhere to the ordinance immediately or face violation penalties laid out by Detroit Lakes City Code.

The second reading of Ordinance 441 will take place at the March 12th meeting of the Detroit Lakes City Council.

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