Short Term Rental 101 Series: Article 2: Understanding Regulations for Bed Configurations

In our ongoing “Short-Term Rental 101” series article 2 focusses on bed configuration regulations. 

We’re diving into another critical initial step for assessing a property’s success in the short-term rental market. Drawing from years of experience in property development and management, we’ve gleaned valuable insights into what sets apart a profitable rental from one that falls short. Amidst numerous factors, we’ve consistently found that a property’s layout, location, amenities and configuration often outweigh its modesty or elegance.

A recurring issue that warrants attention is the regulation of bed configurations, which is on my mind because it has been a discussion on three properties this week alone. Understanding these regulations is paramount when evaluating a potential vacation home rental. A cardinal rule in vacation rentals is that larger groups significantly boost profitability, often doubling the value and occupancy compared to smaller properties. The capacity of a property to accommodate groups hinges often on its bed configuration. The majority of our traffic in the area is groups of folks coming up to spend time together.

It’s crucial to understand that the permissible number of occupants per bedroom varies by locality and is often constrained by city ordinances. For instance, just last week, prospective buyers passed on a charming vacation home near Rice Lake due to Brainerd’s restriction of two people per bedroom. Consequently, what could have been a ten-person rental in a spacious 3-bedroom house was limited to six. Familiarizing oneself with local and county regulations is imperative.

In general, Morrison County and Mille Lacs County adhere to state recommendations. According to state lodging codes, beds must be at least three feet apart, and a room must be a minimum of 70 square feet for the first bed, with an additional 60 square feet for each subsequent bed. Consequently, sizable bedrooms are necessary to meet the goal of two bunk beds in a third or forth bedroom of a home.

While Crow Wing County tends to be more accommodating to us in general on many issues. But scrutiny of local regulations remains essential when evaluating any property. Some properties may feature communal sleeping areas or unconventional sleeping arrangements, like pull-out couches in living rooms or sleeping spaces in four-season porches. While these arrangements can enhance a property’s appeal and be successfully used in some situations, it’s prudent to be conservative in estimations and consider the most realistic marketing scenario.

In a forthcoming article, we’ll address another common limitation on occupancy: septic size and type. For those who haven’t already, I recommend revisiting our first article in the “Short-Term Rental 101” series, which delves into the broader aspects of analyzing the return on investment for properties in our area. Feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss specific properties or seek assistance in analyzing and finding the ideal property for your needs.

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