Getting green from the greens
Renting your home for 2017 U.S. Open could bring cash

By Joe VanDeLaarschot - Conley News Service

Oct. 1, 2016

This undated photo shows the home of Chris Thulin of Chaska, Minnesota, who used a broker to rent his home temporarily this weekend to participants in the Ryder Cup golf tournament at the nearby Hazeltine National Golf Club. He charged several thousand dollars to rent the home for the event. Washington County homeowners will have the opportunity to make extra money by renting their homes next summer when the U.S. Open men’s golf championship is played at Erin Hills.
Submitted photo

TOWN OF ERIN — Erin Hills Golf Course will draw worldwide attention when the U.S. Open is held there next year. The event is also expected to provide an economic shot of adrenaline to area hotels and businesses. But homeowners will also be able to cash in by renting their primary residence to golf championship participants and attendees.

Already there are advertisements on Craigslist and other online sites where property owners are offering their homes for rent during the event. There are ways, besides the homeowners doing it themselves, which could be considered less risky. There are online companies that broker renting of homes for major sporting events. One service is Rent Like A Champion, which began by helping rent homes in South Bend, Indiana to Notre Dame fans during home games. An appearance on “Shark Tank,” where consultants on the cable TV show agreed to finance an expansion, has allowed the company to broker rentals for NASCAR, the Ryder Cup and other major events — including the US Open at Erin Hills.

“Our business is in hyper drive and we’re looking forward to helping homeowners rent their homes for the U.S. Open next year,” Rent Like A Champion CEO Mike Doyle said. “We contact people and have people contact us about renting a home during a major sporting event.”

Homeowners submit photos of their homes to the company, which then posts them on its website. They also match inquiries about homes for rent with available homes.

“We take care of logistics, contracts, payments and insurance,” Doyle said. “We take out a $1 million insurance policy on each home to cover any problems that may occur, but that’s very, very, rare.”

Many factors determine how much a homeowner can charge for renting their home.

“The size of your home, its condition, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, are just a few,” Doyle said. “And then the length of the event — there are some events that may only require four or five days for renting a home. Others might need a week or 10 days.”

Chris Thulin rented his home for about eight days for people taking part in or attending this weekend’s Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. He said using a broker makes the process easier and can help homeowners receive more money

Tax-free rental income?

“For some events, it’s possible a homeowner could rent a home for a week, 10 days or whatever for between $9,000-$20,000,” Thulin said. “You also don’t have to pay income tax to the Internal Revenue Service on that money.”

A check with the IRS website confirmed that if you use a dwelling unit as a personal residence and rent it for fewer than 15 days in a year you are not required to report any of the rental income, but cannot deduct any expenses as rental expenses.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue spokeswoman Eileen O’Neil said Wisconsin tax law for renting homes mirrors federal regulations.

“Again, for Wisconsin purposes, the primary residence must be rented fewer than 15 days in a year and no income tax is owed to the state,” O’Neil said.

Thulin and Doyle recommend anyone considering renting their home also check local zoning regulations and their homeowners association’s bylaws to see if renting is permitted.

“I consulted my home association, but they told me I couldn’t rent my home,” Thulin said. “But the penalty I’ll pay is so small for one violation that I’m still renting my home, will pay the fine and still make thousands.”

Thulin said European Ryder Cup team members are renting his home and three others nearby. His home will serve as the location where the four homes will eat during the tourney.

“They’re bringing a chef and waitress to prepare their meals and to serve them,” Thulin said. “We’ve cleared our food out of the kitchen and put personal items in the basement — locked away. Anything you don’t want them to have access to you lock up.”

Thulin said he’s provided toiletries, new towels and inexpensive bed sheets for his temporary tenants.

“It’s a good way to make extra cash,” Thulin said. “We’ll travel to Wisconsin Dells during the Cup and that is paid for many times over by renting our home.”

Thulin said working through a broker provides advantages.

“They do the negotiating, act as the middleman and post your home and photos online on their website,” Thulin said. “The homeowner has the final say on the price but the broker’s advice is given through years of experience. A person doing this for the first time probably won’t know what’s good and what’s out of line.”