Updated (with MOU link): 9/5/2019, 3:42pm
If you’ve ever seen a video of the Sufi Whirling Dervish dancers spinning in circles while not really moving at all, you’ll have an idea of the complex dance that was performed by short-term rental platforms like HomeAway and Airbnb as they delicately negotiated the potential pitfalls of the City of Portland’s home-sharing ordinances. After years of negotiations between the City Council, Bureau of Revenue, Bureau of Development Services and the major rental platforms, we finally have a move forward with pass-through registration in Portland!
In June 2019, the City Council passed Ordinance 189557, which required platforms to implement data-sharing arrangements and remove unpermitted listings altogether. On September 4, 2019 the timeline for implementation of a firm program was announced.
In its first interface with a US municipality, HomeAway has chosen to reference the City’s list of existing permitted hosts and deactivate any without an authorized Type A or B permit as early as September 30, 2019.
Airbnb’s arrangement is quite a bit more complex. They will be working closely in partnership with the City of Portland to establish a pass-through registration process (PTR). This means that beginning with the Implementation Date of November 1, 2019, Hosts will be asked to consent to share their data with the City. If they do not consent, they will be deactivated on January 1, 2020. For those who apply later and refuse to share their data, their listing will be removed within seven days.
Hosts who choose to share their data and remain on the platform will be sending:
- Name of listing owner
- Mailing address, email address and phone number
- Rental address
- Number of bedrooms rented
- Number of guests advertised for rent
- Listing type (entire place, private room or shared room)
- Listing description and URL
- Number of reservations, actual dates booked and financial details
Airbnb Makes it Easy
In exchange, Airbnb will help simplify the permitting process by:
- Creating a PTR which allows Hosts to apply for their permit via the Airbnb website
- Making renewals easy and contained within the Airbnb platform
- Financially supporting the implementation and ongoing maintenance of the PTR program
- Create a dedicated email for City correspondence and agree to respond to messages within 48 hours
- Report new listings (with hosts’ consent) to the City monthly
Portland Plays Nice
The City has agreed to simplify the process on their side, too, by:
- Publishing their list of permitted Hosts
- Removing management of Type A and B permits from the Bureau of Development Services and re-assigning it to the Revenue Division
- Eliminating in-person home inspections except on a case-by-case basis
- Streamlining the cumbersome multiple agency tax reporting requirements for permit application, business licenses and Transient Lodging Tax registration into a single, consolidated form managed by the Revenue Division
- As soon as the City has issued a permit number or the Host has submitted the required data to the City via Airbnb, Hosts may begin operating on the platform and will only be removed if their permit application is denied
We are excited by these proposed changes and formalization of the data-sharing arrangement between the home-sharing platforms and the City of Portland’s regulatory agencies. Further, we are optimistic that these improvements will streamline the process and reduce the amount of bad actors listed on the platforms. This will increase the amount of available long-term housing and eliminate unnecessary competition for Hosts who follow the rules.