Vacation rentals in the Northwoods are easier than ever for both sides of the transaction, with the help of services like www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com. Property owners can help defray expenses for a property they don’t use all the time and renters can dip their toes into lakefront living for a reasonable cost. It seems like a win-win for everyone – and usually is!
I attended a hearing this week at the Burnett County Government Center, where I had the opportunity to witness some of the difficult sides of vacation rentals, where everyone doesn’t win. There were several property owners on the agenda, looking to get approval for Conditional Use Permits that allowed them to rent their properties on a short-term basis. As each person stood before the committee, their stories unfolded through the series of questions and answers. Some permits were granted and others were not.
Renting Your Property – How to Win: You need a permit to rent your property on a short-term basis. If you advertise your rental online, you can’t hide. Just do yourself a favor and get the permit. You’ll want to do some homework before you apply. Is your septic large enough to accommodate the number of people who will be renting? Do you have someone living nearby who can be a “24/7” contact for your renters? How do you screen your renters and monitor their behavior so that they don’t pose a problem for your neighbors? Those are just a few of the zingers you’ll want to be prepared to avoid. Here is a link to more guidelines that will help you through the process.
Renting A Property Like a Winner: If you’re renting a property in our area, especially a lake home, pack a sticky note that says “When in Rome”. It’s a lot of fun to splash around a new lake and soak up the summer sun. But proceed with care and witness how the owners behave on their lake. Find out about any special concerns and understand what is the norm. Because you will distinguish yourself very quickly as an outsider if you don’t. Terrorizing the neighborhood by buzzing the shoreline with your boat, screaming profanities around the firepit and shooting off fireworks at 2am are all ways to shut down the future of renting a property again. If you need to blow off steam, hit the gym. Don’t ruin an owner’s ability to continue renting their property. Only a loser would do that…Wanda Boldon