Short-Term Rentals: Heavy Fines for Unregistered Units

Short-Term Rentals: Heavy Fines for Unregistered Units

With more than 1000 active short-term rental listings in Portland, the City Council has implemented a mandatory registration process. Those of you listing short-terms rental units have until the end of 2017 to submit a registration form and pay the required fees to the city. Failure to register will subject you to fines starting at $100 per day. The registration process has a bit of fine print, which we’ll help to briefly dissect here.

What is a short-term rental? Any property offered for a rental period of fewer than 30 days. Airbnb, VRBO, and similar sites offer these.

Who has to register? Anyone listing a short-term rental, whether you’re the owner of the property or not. (I.e. if you are the tenant of a long-term rental, but you then list it as a short-term rental, you must register with the city.)

When do I have to register by? Dec 31, 2017. Failure to do so may subject you to fines starting at $100 per day in 2018.

How often do I have to register my units? Annually.

My unit is not owner-occupied, is this allowed? Like most lawyerly answers, it depends…

Non-owner-occupied single-family home on mainland Portland, cannot be listed or rented as short-term rentals, as per the City Code.

Non-owner-occupied single-family home on an island in Casco Bay: These rentals are permitted, so long as you register them.

Non-owner-occupied apartment or multi-unit dwelling on the mainland: Permitted, but there is a city-wide cap of 300 such units. We are currently in the first-come-first-served gold rush for securing these valuable permits (at last count, less than 200 remain). The city will implement a waiting list once the permits are gone.

My unit is owner-occupied, is this allowed? Yes, and you must register! Owner-occupied means it’s your primary residence and you live there at least half the year.

How much will it cost? Registration fees start at $100, but vary between mainland and island properties and escalate if you rent multiple units throughout the city. Good news: You qualify for discounted registration fees if you’ve implemented certain safety measures for your property.

How do I register? Go to Portland’s Rental Registration page, where you’ll find the online application is broken (we’ve been told this is a permanent break, so maybe next year). For now, you need to do it in person. Or you can schedule a call with our firm and we can assist. We help you register and act as your authorized agent for your listings. Our fees are as follows:

(first year) $100 setup fee for first unit + $50 for each additional unit.

(annually thereafter) $60 for one unit + $30 for each additional unit.

Andrew Kraus
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