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Rochester city leaders respond to growth in short term online rentals

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With being home to Mayo Clinic, Rochester is known for getting plenty of visitors – nearly 3 million a year. However, those visitors aren’t always wanting hotels or motels, but rather short term online rentals, such as Expedia or Air Bnb.

On Monday in a meeting, Rochester city leaders listened to a list of recommendations to give the short term online marketplace a better sense of direction. Its a task that city leaders say stems from ensuring health and city welfare.

In April, city leaders wanted to dig a little deeper into Rochester’s short term online retail marketplace, or in shorter terms, “STORM.” The research team found that STORM is on the rise, with listings growing nearly 54 percent and rental units increasing about 28 percent in the last year across multiple platforms such as Air Bnb.

City leaders were presented a few different options for policy direction moving forward and seem to be most interested in the fourth option, which requires licensing and inspections.

“This is just a way of making sure if someone says they are renting out their house, that its safe,” “STORM” planner Ryan Yetzer said. “Similar to the way if you rent out a house long term, we want to make sure that the smoke detectors are up to code, that sort of thing.

The “STORM” team plans to work on creating a policy around that fourth option but does not have a hard deadline. Once finished, the team will present its plan to the city council.

Beret Leone

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