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Short-term rentals likely to be considered commercial properties in Cook County

Vacation rentals are common on the North Shore. Photo by Joe Friedrichs
Vacation rentals are common on the North Shore. Photo by Joe Friedrichs

Property owners and businesses in Cook County that operate short-term rentals could see large increases in their property taxes in the coming years when a state directive becomes reality in 2020. 

A memo from the Minnesota Department of Revenue dated May 21 that was sent to every county assessor in the state says any property where the primary use of the home is a short-term rental should be classified as a 3a commercial property. A questionnaire will be sent in mid-November to anyone the county thinks is operating a short-term rental at their property. The purpose of this questionnaire is to determine the primary use of the property.  

Currently, at least in Cook County, short-term rentals are classified as residential non-homestead and pay a significantly lower property tax than they would pay if taxed at the commercial rate.

“Short-term rentals” include family cabins in the woods that are rented by the night, homes and other units in Grand Marais that sit in the allowed-use zone and condominiums in developments like Bluefin Bay, Lutsen Resort and Caribou Highlands.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cook County Assessor Bob Thompson about the short-term rental questionnaire and the upcoming tax classification change. The audio of that conversation is posted below.

For more background on this story, click here.