Airbnb and other short-term rental marketplaces are risking massive fines as a deadline looms in Portland. Last year, the city passed an ordinance requiring all short term rental hosts to register with the city. In order to encourage compliance with the law, the city amended the ordinance last month to fine platforms that facilitate rentals $500 per unregistered listing.
The deadline for registration is tomorrow, and according to a report by Skift, only about 10 percent of Portlanders who host a short-term rental have paid the $178.08 fee, had their home inspected by a city employee and registered. The lack of compliance is a high-stakes problem: the ordinance allows Portland to fine rental marketplaces with users who aren’t registered $500 a day until their hosts follow the law.
Portland estimates that there are about 1,600 short term rentals operating in the city, and thus far, it has only received 166 permit applications. If the city fines companies like Airbnb, FlipKey and HomeAway for all of the unregistered listings, the total bill comes to more than $700,000.
Airbnb, for its part, has informed its hosts of their obligation through email communication. It also added a field to Portland users’ profiles where they can input their license number once they receive it from the city.
“We ask all of our hosts to follow local rules and have outlined the requirements for Portland’s home-sharing regulations with our hosts on multiple occasions,” Airbnb spokesperson Christopher Nulty said in a statement emailed to GeekWire. “We plan to continue working with the city to ensure that Portlanders can share their home while contributing to the community.”
However, the company hasn’t gone quite as far as to lock the listings of people who haven’t registered, something that Portland officials suggested as a means of encouraging hosts to comply with the law.
For right now, it looks like we’re headed for another regulatory showdown – hardly new territory for Airbnb.