Rental Licensing Information

Search our website:
City Events 2024 Elections

Rental Licensing Information

The City of Columbia Heights has a cap on the number of rental licenses for single-family residential homes. Information on the ordinance can be found here

The purpose of the Rental Licensing program is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City who live in rental units, the property owners who operate and manage rental units, and the general public who reside next to rental units, by providing a rental dwelling inspection and maintenance program to correct substandard conditions and maintain a standard for existing and newly constructed rental dwellings in the City.
The city's Property Maintenance Code can be found here.
Jump to Rental Licensing Forms

  • Any dwelling unit where the owner is not occupying the unit, even if no rent is paid or if the unit is occupied by a relative. 
  • Dwelling units independently occupied by the owner's child, stepchild, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, brother, brother- in-law, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, or uncle.  However, a "family-exempt" rental property is eligible for a reduced licensing fee.
  • Short term or "Short Stay" (less than 30 days) rental properties such as an “Airbnb” or “VBRO”.
  • Dwelling units where renters or tenants have a private a entrance, living area, and kitchen facilities require a rental license.
  • NOT required for housemates or roommates, who are a person(s), unrelated to the owner of the residence, sharing living quarters primarily to share expenses.  A roomer or boarder rents a room (private sleeping area) in a residential structure and shares common space and kitchen facilities with the owner. Some sort of cash or noncash payment (e.g., chores) is usually made for their living accommodations. 
The city only issues rental licenses to a Natural Person having an ownership interest in the property, an owner, the Vendee of a property’s contract for deed, a Trustee of a trust, an Officer of a corporation, a Partner in charge of the general-day-to-day firm management of a partnership, or a Beneficial Owner of any other form of business organization. If you have a question regarding who the licensee should be for your type of business, please contact our inspection office at 763-706-8156.


The term of a regular rental license is one (1) year, subject to change by the City Council. Rental license renewal must be completed prior to the expiration of the current license expiration.


A property cannot be occupied until a license application is approved by the City Council and the license is issued. Application for a rental license is not an approval to occupancy the property. Occupancy of an unlicensed property prior to the license being approved may result in citations to the Property Owner and/or Occupants.
The rental inspection of all new rental properties is performed by the city’s Building Official. The property is inspected for compliance with State and City Codes. 
  1. Download the Community Development’s Initial Rental Inspection Application here.
  2. Complete the Initial Rental Inspection Application and submit it, along with the inspection fee, to the Community Development Department.
  3. Contact the City of Columbia Heights Community Development Department at (763) 706-3670 to set up an initial inspection of the interior and the exterior of the property.
  4. The property Owner needs to correct any violations found during the inspection to proceed forward with the licensing process. Building Department's Initial Rental Property Inspection checklist.
  5. Once the property successfully passes the Community Development inspection, the Building Official issues a letter of compliance to the owner.
License Applicants have 10 (ten) days from the issue of the letter of compliance to submit a complete rental license application and pay the rental licensing fee.  Failure to complete the license process can result in late fees, citation, and denial of the license application. Rental license applications are NOT accepted without the proof of inspection compliance letter.
  1. Download and complete the city's Rental License Application. Fire Department Rental Property License Application for a new Rental property.
  2. Contact the Fire Department Inspection Office at (763) 706-8156 or email to get the current fee schedule for your property’s new rental license.
  3. Submit the proof of inspection compliance, application, fees, disclosures, supplemental property profile information, and any other required documents to the Fire Department for review.
  4. The city does not accept incomplete applications or partial fees.
  5. Following a successful review of the application by the inspection office, the license is sent to the City Council for consideration of approval.
  6. City Council approved applications are issued licenses and tenants may legally occupy the property.
 Item Description  Fee
  Rental Property License 1 through 3 units   $300 per building
  Rental Property License over 3 units   $250 per building plus $22 per unit
  Family Exempt Rental License   $75 per building
  Rental License Transfer Fee   $50
  Licensing Late Fee   $150
  Reinspection Fee   $150
  Immediate Abatement Fee   $75
  Immediate Abatement with Search Warrant   $125
  Council-Approved Abatement Fee   $200
  Reinstatement Fee after revocation   Five (5) times the Rental License fee
  Fees subject to change.  
Licensees/Property Owners are responsible for maintaining the rental property to the minimum standards outlined in city code. Licenses expire annually and must be renewed prior to the expiration of the license. The inspection office sends a notice of license renewal and applications packet to Licensees prior to the expiration of the license. Failure to complete the renewal licensing process prior to the expiration of the license may result in late fees and the revocation of the ability to hold an interest in a rental license within the city. Any person or owner who has had an interest in two or more licenses revoked are ineligible to hold or have an interest in an occupancy license for a period of five years.

The Purchaser of an existing rental property may apply for transfer of the license if:
  • The existing license is valid. A rental license expires 30 days from the date of sale/transfer of ownership of the property.
  • The licensed premises is in compliance with code, or the Seller furnishes the Purchaser with a true copy of any open compliance order or notice of violation issued and the Purchaser provides the inspection department a signed and notarized statement stating their acknowledgment of the receipt of the compliance order or notice of violation and that they fully accept the responsibility, without condition, for making the required corrections or repairs.
  • A transfer application, transfer fee, and any required information is submitted to the inspection office within 30 days of purchase/transfer of ownership of the property.
  • Rental License Transfer Application
Payment for the license fees can be made in person at the inspection office or by mailing a check made out to the City of Columbia Heights for the appropriate amount along with the completed & signed license application and proof of inspection compliance to: 

Columbia Heights Fire Department 
ATTN: Inspection Office 
825 41st Ave NE 
Columbia Heights, MN 55421

Community Development’s Initial Rental Inspection Application
Blank Rental License Application
Blank Rental License  Transfer Application
Affidavit of Non-Rental
Affidavit of Family Exemption