Duluth Council OKs Moratorium on Vacation Rental Units

June 15, 2015 10:45 PM

The Duluth City Council approved a moratorium Monday night that will put a pause on new, full-time vacation rentals units from popping up in Duluth for now. 

Councilor Joel Sipress was one of three councilors who drafted the proposal. He said he had heard from community members that some houses turned full-time vacation rental units were causing concerns in neighborhoods. 

Some community members emailed the Council saying they don't want these units to disrupt their neighborhood. Meanwhile, owners of these units told Eyewitness News Monday that there's a big misconception these units are wild and used for parties. 

Sipress said this moratorium will create a pause, allowing for the Council to study the impact of these vacation rental units before any more pop up. 

"We just want to take a look, take a pause and have a temporary moratorium so we can look at the rules and make sure we have well thought rules and a well thought out system for determining where and when should homes be approved as full time vacation rentals," Sipress said. 

Full-time vacation rental units are already regulated by the City in that they need special use permits, inspections and are required to pay sales and tourism taxes. 

However, not all vacation rental units are full-time. Others, like the ones found on websites like AirBnB.com and VRBO, are part-time, or only served as rental units sometimes. Sipress said those are growing quickly as well, which is another reason for the study. He added that part-time units are required to pay taxes as well; however, there is no clear system set up to collect those. 

This moratorium will go into effect in 30 days. Sipress said already existing full-time vacation rental units will still be able to operate under the moratorium. He said the pause will not affect part-time units for the time being. 


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