May 17, 2018

MINNETRISTA PROPERTY RIGHTS ARE BEING TARGETED and homeowners that have been able for decades to rent out their homes as vacation rentals will no longer be able to do so if a proposed ordinance passes next week. Despite the fact there are no specific complaints on record relative to any short-term rental usage of any kind on any properties within Minnetrista, the city council seems poised to ban short term rentals of less than 30 days. People that invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a house as a vacation rental business and have been responsible property owners for decades will have their businesses taken away by the city. So far there appears to be no inclination to grandfather these soon to be non-conforming properties as Minnesota state law requires (Minn. Stat. Section 462.357, subd. 1e).

What the city has done in the proposed ordinance is declared all short term rentals a public nuisance (which clearly they all are not as most have been operating responsibly for decades). In Minnesota, state law requires a standard of proof that a city must meet before declaring something a public nuisance, otherwise a local government could just arbitrarily declare anything they wanted to control, or get rid of, a nuisance (lawn mowers, dogs, etc.). That standard requires proof of a number of separate behavioral incidents committed within the previous 12 months. This standard has not been met by the city of Minnetrista and leaves the city wide open for litigation if it chooses not to grandfather these non-conforming properties and to make provisions for them in this ordinance.

The city council is unanimous in the desire to prevent future properties from being purchased in Minnetrista solely as vacation rentals in residentially zoned neighborhoods. There are constitutional issues involved, however, that need to be addressed in this ordinance to avoid taxpayer dollars from being needlessly spent on future litigation that could’ve been foreseen.

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