Short Term Rentals


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St. Louis County regulates short term (vacation home) rentals. A short term rental dwelling unit is defined as any home, cabin, condominium or similar building represented to the public as a place where sleeping accommodations are furnished to the public on a nightly or weekly and for less than thirty (30) days basis for compensation.

If you are planning on, or are currently renting your property as a short term rental where St. Louis County administers zoning, a permit is required.   

Applications & Standards
Performance Standard Permit Application
Conditional Use Permit Application
Short Term Rental Fact Sheet
Short Term Rental Emergency Contact Worksheet

Informational Postings 
AIS-Stop Hitchhikers
Septicsmart-Protect Your Pipes

Who Is Impacted by County Ordinance?

Effective Feb 25, 2020, St. Louis County board adopted amendments to Zoning Ordinance 62 regulating short term rentals.

Who IS Impacted: Short Term Rentals in Organized and Unorganized Townships where St. Louis County administers the zoning ordinance regulations.
Who IS NOT Impacted: The following cities and townships administer their own zoning ordinance and are not impacted by the County's short term rental ordinance.

Cities: Aurora, Babbitt, Biwabik, Brookston, Buhl, Chisholm, Cook, Duluth, Ely, Eveleth, Floodwood, Gilbert, Hermantown, Hibbing, Hoyt Lakes, Iron Junction, Kinney, Leonidas, McKinley, Meadowlands, Mountain Iron, Orr, Proctor, Rice Lake, Tower, Virginia, Winton.

Townships: Duluth, Gnesen, Midway, Lakewood.

Who’s Impacted Notes: Residents of these jurisdictions should contact them for further information on short-term rental requirements.

County Zoning Administration Areas Map


Question: I own a short term rental property in Hibbing, will I be impacted by this proposed ordinance amendment?

Answer: No. St. Louis County does not administer zoning in Hibbing. You would need to follow Hibbing zoning requirements, if any. In fact, any property in a city administering its own zoning will not be impacted.

Question: Will two short term rental properties under different ownership next to each other, in a residentially zoned area, be allowed under the new standards?

Answer: If two short term rentals in a residentially zoned area are closer than 300 feet (measured from property line to property line), then a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) may be allowed and the Planning Commission (PC) would have the ability to waive the 300 foot standard. A CUP also allows for the PC to add conditions to the permit that could help mitigate any potential effects on the other residents in the neighborhood.

Question: What type of permits are required for other rental properties, such as hotels, resorts or bed and breakfasts?

Answer: Typically these types of rentals fall into a different category of use and require a Conditional Use Permit and also require state licensure for food, beverage and lodging.

Question: Why are state and county licenses and permits required?

Answer: Short term rentals in St. Louis County have gone relatively unregulated in the past and the Planning Commission had concern over the safety of those renting short term rental properties. The Minnesota Department of Health has qualified inspectors that review the property for safe and adequate drinking water, sanitation facilities and egress, among other inspections. St. Louis County will be reviewing the use of the property for short term rentals and ensure that parking, lighting, signage, onsite wastewater (septic) treatment and existing structures will be utilized as intended.

Question: If I own lake property, is it true I will be forced to plant trees or build a fence to hide my cabin from the lake?

Answer: St. Louis County will look at properties to ensure existing ordinance standards regarding vegetative screening and land alterations are being followed.

Question: Will I be required to get a survey of my property?

Answer: A visual demarcation of your property lines will need to be submitted with your application (for example, a map or sketch of your property) to provide to renters of the property to alleviate trespass on to neighboring properties. If your property is located in a residentially (RES) zoned area a survey may be required; in lieu of a survey, written agreement between adjoining property owners may be submitted.

Question: Will there be an annual fee for a short term rental permit from St. Louis County?

Answer: Depending on the permit type, the fee will be $385 for a performance standard permit or $650 for a Conditional Use Permit. As long as all conditions and standards of the permit are being followed, no additional fees may be required for a St. Louis County short term rental permit. If a property is sold or transferred, a new permit with a new fee will be required. If a property is in violation of St. Louis County ordinances, standards or conditions, then a permit may be revoked and a new permit with a new fee may be required to continue or re-start a short term rental.