Duluth City Council considers higher rental bedroom limit

Peter Passi – 06/08/2012

The Duluth City Council is considering changes to a proposed new rule limiting the conversion of single-family homes into multi-tenant rental properties in campus neighborhoods. The plan to limit the size of these rental properties to a maximum of four bedrooms sparked criticism that it might harm the market for some of Duluth’s large old homes. Some of these homes were built at a time when families were larger and the city was more affluent. As rentals, these large houses provide adequate cash flow only when shared by multiple tenants. City Councilors Patrick Boyle and Sharla Gardner both offered amendments to the rule for homes that are 3,000 square feet in size or larger. If either amendment is passed Monday, it will be a meaningful change that will require a second reading before the council before a vote. The passage of either amendment would push back any action until June 25 at the earliest. Gardner would set the upper rental limit for landlords at the number of bedrooms on record in the city assessor’s office on the date of a rental license application. Boyle would allow a maximum of six bedrooms to be offered for rent. Landlords will be required to provide off-street parking for every bedroom unit they rent. Existing rental properties would be grandfathered, allowing landlords to continue renting out as many bedrooms as they’re currently licensed to operate.

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