Frequently Asked Questions
The below list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is provided to share some highlights of newly expanded rental licensing program. Please note that the answers provided may not reference City Code language exactly, and should only be used as a reference.
- How has the City of Woodbury expanded the rental licensing program?
A rental license will be required for all residential properties being let for rent, leased, or otherwise occupied as a rental in the City of Woodbury beginning January 1, 2024. This applies to single family homes, townhouses, condominium units. The rental licensure requirement remains for multiple dwellings such as apartments, senior living complexes, and similar structures or groupings of units.
- How did the decision to begin licensing single dwelling units come about?
Through the 2021 Housing Action Plan, Woodbury City Council adopted policy direction to move forward with the rental licensure program for the purposes of:
- The preservation of neighborhoods
- Encouraging a high standard of property maintenance throughout Woodbury including rental properties
- Providing strategies to proactively address deterioration and prevent blight within all areas of the City
- Why does Woodbury need this program?
- The focus of the rental licensing program is to help maintain the quality and stability of rental housing which will help preserve the value of land and buildings throughout Woodbury. Licensing residential rental properties, along with updates to the Housing and Property Maintenance Code, will provide strategies to proactively address blight within all areas of the City. In addition, licensing residential rental properties helps to promote the continued health, safety and welfare of all residents who live in rental properties and in surrounding neighborhoods.
- Since operating a rental property is a business, doing so also requires that certain responsibilities and standards be upheld. By requiring rental properties to be licensed, the City helps ensure owners, operators and managers are taking reasonable steps to provide a safe, sanitary, and reasonably well-maintained environment for tenants and neighboring residents.
- The program will aid the City in building valuable community partnerships and improve communication with landlords and property management groups.
- Do other cities have programs like this?
Yes, cities throughout the metropolitan area such as Burnsville, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Oakdale and Maple Grove require rental properties to be licensed. Licenses help promote the continued health, safety and welfare of all residents who live in rental properties and in surrounding neighborhoods.
- When does the expanded rental licensure program begin?
The program will require single dwelling residential properties currently being offered for rent to obtain a license by January 1, 2024.
To be notified of any updates to the rental licensing program, such as when the ordinance is adopted, how to apply when the City begins the licensing process, and more, sign up for InTouch notifications on the City of Woodbury website by clicking: Sign up for InTouch notifications and select "Rental Licensing Program Updates".
- What is the anticipated single dwelling rental license cost?
A single dwelling rental license for 2024 is anticipated to cost $80 annually. This fee applies to single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums. As the program becomes active, and if a new rental is added outside of the annual renewal period, the fee will be pro-rated.
The rental licensure period runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 of the license year.
- How will I be able to apply and pay for my rental license?
When the expanded rental licensing program goes live, a rental property owner will be able to apply for a rental license in the following ways:
- Online via the City of Woodbury website;
- In person at Woodbury City Hall, 8301 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury, MN 55125;
- Via mail to 8301 Valley Creek Road, Woodbury, MN 55125.
- Will the city be inspecting the interior of my single dwelling rental unit?
When a new license is applied for, or at each annual renewal, the Woodbury rental licensing program will require that the property owner complete a self-certification checklist during the rental license application process.
The self-certification checklist includes property maintenance items that will need to be certified by the property owner as being presently in good condition and in working order. If an item is identified as not being in good condition and in working order, staff will work with the owner/applicant to establish a timeline for correction of any deficiencies and scheduling of follow-up inspections as needed once corrections have been completed.
The city will not be conducting interior rental inspections of single dwelling units unless follow-up is required for a checklist item noted during the annual application process, for an outstanding violation, or if a code violation complaint is received.
- When should I be applying for a rental license?
All current single dwelling rental owners should obtain a license for their property prior to January 1, 2024. Rental licenses will require annual renewal. Applications for renewal must be received by the city no later than the date of expiration of the current license term.
Annually the City of Woodbury will send renewal reminders to current license holders with the contact information we have on file, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the license holder to renew the license. If a license is not renewed by the due date, late fees may apply.
- For new build applicants, application for a rental license should be made after the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
- For rental conversion applicants, application for a rental license should be made prior to conversion and tenant occupancy.
- What happens if a problem is found on an inspection?
Single dwelling rental units shall be inspected on an annual basis by the owner, or by another under direct authorization from the owner for compliance with the housing and property maintenance code. At the time of license application, the applicant will be required to submit a completed property maintenance checklist.
- By using the checklist, they will indicate which items are currently in good condition and in working order and indicate if any items need attention. If an item is identified as not being in good condition and in working order, staff will work with the owner/applicant to establish a timeline for correction of any deficiencies and scheduling of follow-up inspections once the corrections are complete.
- I’m an individual landlord that lives out of state, how will I provide certification for my property?
The annual physical inspection of the property can be completed by the property owner, or a party authorized by the property owner.
- What happens if a landlord does not obtain a license for a rental property?
As the program rolls out in 2024, our focus is to work with residents, landlords, and tenants to educate them regarding the newly expanded program. Should a landlord fail to obtain a license, the City will reach out to the landlord and advise them a license is required at which time they will be required to obtain a license. Continued failure to obtain a rental license may result in remedies or penalties as provided within the ordinance.
- Does the city respond to complaints from tenants?
Yes, if we receive a complaint about a potential code violation, a City of Woodbury code enforcement officer will work with the tenant and landlord to correct the violation(s), if confirmed.
- Who is exempt from all or part of any Woodbury rental licensure requirements?
- Individual dwelling units, not part of a rental complex, and occupied by an owner(s) and/or qualifying relative(s) that adhere to the definition of family.
- Nursing homes, or portions thereof, as defined within Chapter 24 of the Woodbury City Code, licensed by the State of Minnesota.
- Residential property that has been sold on a contract for deed so long as the vendee occupies the property and the sale document used to memorialize the sale is a Minnesota Uniform Conveyancing Blanks Form or is recorded with the Washington County Recorder's Office and a copy is provided to the City upon request.
- Rental licensing fees do not apply to a dwelling unit owned by a member of the United States Armed Services who is on active duty and the property is rented to another person during the time of active duty. The owner must provide the City with a copy of the owner's current military orders and must occupy the property as the owner's primary residence when not on active duty.
- Is there an exemption available if you are a landlord that only owns a single rental property in Woodbury?
No, there is no exemption for those who offer only a single residential property for rent in Woodbury. Every rental in Woodbury is treated from the same perspective that renting a property is a business, and doing so requires that certain responsibilities and standards be upheld.
We understand that some landlords that only own a single unit may benefit from the additional resources and guidance that the rental program can provide. For example, the property maintenance checklist, when implemented, may assist them in identifying property maintenance issues before they become severe and present the opportunity to perform preventative maintenance on their properties.
While engaging with community members, we also heard from residents who live adjacent to a rental property owned by a landlord who only owns a single property that has property maintenance issues. They felt such an exemption would negate some of the positive effects of the rental licensing program.
- Are short-term rentals allowed?
Short-term rentals do not conform to Woodbury City Code. The use of a property as a short-term rental is prohibited.
- Where can I go for additional information about the rental licensing program?