Renting a room in your home - even for a day - will now require a license and an inspection.  The City of Superior has moved to change its ordinance on the issue, with an effective date of January 1, 2023.  The City Council made the affirmative vote at its meeting on June 21.

Operators of short-term rentals in the city now will have to match the regulations that are stipulated for longer-term places like "hotels, motels. and rooming houses", according to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall]. Under the existing ordinance, those businesses had to collect the lodging tax that was then paid to the city by the owner.

The changes for short-term rental owners will now need to obtain a license.  All "properties rented for a fee for fewer than 30 consecutive days as defined by state law" will need that license to operate.  They'll also need to be inspected by the Douglas County Health Department.

The ordinance change also outlines the fee structure for both licensing and inspections; owners of short-term rentals have two options to choose from:

  • Seasonal rentals:  The owner can obtain a license at $10.00 per month to "cover the period when the property would be rented out".
  • Annual/year-round rentals:  The annual license covers the entire period from January 1 to December 31 at a discounted fee rate of $50.00.

Before either of these two licenses would be granted, the owner would need to schedule and pay the $15.00 fee for an inspection by the county.

As part of the discussion over the ordinance change, some Councilors questioned how to get the word out about the requirements to individual owners and operators of these short-term rentals when their business models are often outside of the usual practices.  Superior Mayor Jim Paine offered that companies like "Airbnb and VRBO....will not let you list on their websites if you're not licensed and comply with all local laws.  So, we send this to can't use the major websites without complying".

There was also a discussion about the impacts that the change have on city and county personnel - especially in regard to inspections and backlogs.  Again, Mayor Paine offered the opinion and guidance that while "there is the potential for an inspection backlog and that could prohibit people from renting a dwelling until the inspection is done", that that is just the way it is; "If they were not inspected, they are not licensed.  If they are not licensed, they cannot operate the business."

License applications and subsequent renewals for the annual license must be filed by November 1 of each year, or they are subject to late fees.  That application can be made at the Superior City Clerk's office.  For information or questions, call 715-395-7200.

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