Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday got a first look at proposed changes to how the city regulates both short-term and long-term rentals. Here's a look at what's coming and what it means for property owners.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls' existing rental ordinance dates back to 2003, with an update in 2017 to define short-term rentals (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) and require owners to register those properties with the city.
  • Short-term rentals have received a fair amount of attention in the area this year. Minnehaha County adopted an ordinance this spring to require short-term rentals to get a conditional use permit, and Tuesday night the County Commission and City Council voted to approve similar rules for the joint jurisdiction area.
  • A proposed update to the city's ordinance brought by Councilor Rich Merkouris would affect both short- and long-term rentals by requiring permits, a one-time fee and some degree of landlord training.
"The goal here is straightforward, clear regulations that are intended to provide certainty for our rental industry," Merkouris said.

Tell me more: What's being proposed?

The proposed ordinance would create one process for getting a permit for all types of rentals. The existing city ordinance requires that all rentals must be registered with the city, but Merkouris notes that there's some confusion about the process.

As it's written now, the updated ordinance would:

  • require landlords of long-term rentals to attend two hours of training before a permit is issued (short-term rentals are exempt),
  • allow people to apply for a permit both in-person and online,
  • include a one-time $50 application fee,
  • update the definition of a short-term rental to match the state's definition,
  • provide guests with a document including emergency numbers for the property owners, the vacation home's address and a statement that "guests are expected to be courteous to all neighbors and to respect property boundaries."

The updated ordinance also says a short-term rental (also called a vacation home) may have its permit suspended if it receives two health, nuisance or other violations in the course of one year.

What did councilors have to say?

Councilor Greg Neitzert suggested the ordinance include a provision that if a property's state health department license lapsed, they'd be required to notify the city.

Councilor Pat Starr said he'd like to see the landlord education requirement extend to short-term rental property owners as well as long-term landlords.

  • He also noted that he'd like to see a list of registered rentals available online so neighbors can connect directly with property owners if there's trouble. (This is already available – click here to see the registered rental properties in your neighborhood.)

Councilor Curt Soehl and Councilor David Barranco also echoed their support for the ordinance during Tuesday's meeting.

What happens next?

The first reading of the proposed ordinance is expected to go before the council during its regular meeting on Nov. 7.