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Rapid City considering regulating short-term rentals

RAPID CITY (AP) -- Rapid City is considering regulating the growing cottage industry of home-sharing. Websites like Airbnb allow people to make extra income by renting out extra rooms in their homes, or in some cases the entire home, to visitors ...

RAPID CITY (AP) - Rapid City is considering regulating the growing cottage industry of home-sharing.

Websites like Airbnb allow people to make extra income by renting out extra rooms in their homes, or in some cases the entire home, to visitors looking for an alternative to hotels. But some neighbors don't appreciate commercial activity in their communities.

"Short-term rentals are becoming an issue that we recognize in the city, and we feel the need to address," city planner Robert Laroco said.

On Wednesday at the Legal and Finance Committee meeting, Laroco presented the Planning Department's request for direction on regulations for short-term rentals, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Neighbors of homeowners who participate in home-sharing have complained about the constant steam of strangers coming and going, sometime throwing parties and taking up street parking, without any oversight by the city, according to Laroco.

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State law allows property owners to rent out their homes up to 14 days a year without regulation or taxation. Any city regulations would concern homes or rooms being rented out for more than two weeks annually.

The Planning Department has proposed several ways for Rapid City to regulate short-term rentals, including imposing a lodging tax and requiring hosts to apply for a certificate or permit from the city.

There are about 35 active renters in the Rapid City area, with prices ranging from $60 per night for a room to $350 for an entire home, according to the Airbnb website.

The Legal Finance Committee listened to the Planning Department's proposal and voted to recommend moving forward with drafting additional regulations.

The full City Council is expected to make a decision on regulating short-term rentals at its meeting on Monday night.

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