The City’s Bureau of Development Services announced that stricter enforcement of Vacation Rental Homes (offered through sites like Airbnb and Homeaway) will take effect on March 31st. On that date, the penalties will then also reach $5,000 per incident.
The purpose is to reduce the amount of illegal vacation rentals, illegal in that owners are improperly operating and classifying their business. The City of Portland legalized such rentals in 2014 however, owners had to abide by the proper regulations. As an owner of a vacation rental home, you must get a permit and pay hotel taxes. Also, you must live in the home at least 9 months out of the year. The rules are in place to maintain a balance between tourist demands and the low housing supply it has to offer to permanent residents.
Currently, Illegal rentals (where the regulations and proper steps are not being taken) have a 30 day grace period to comply with city code before fined, and even then if they are fined its only between 700-$1200 which can be easily made back, through an active, full-time rental. Under the new rules, violators will be fined immediately and now start at $1,000 for first time offenders.
The bureau believes there are hundreds of rentals operating illegally across the city. There have only been about 700 permits taken out since the legalization in 2014, though there are over 3,000 active listings on popular online platforms for rent.