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

Andrew strives to provide clients with the tools they need to succeed in the creative economy. His trademark practice engages business owners and their marketing teams to ensure the value of their creations are protected. His business practice advises clients on how to protect themselves while creating a sustainable and compliant business endeavor. Andrew sits on the board of the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association, and his involvement in the startup community has him serving as an organizer for 2 Degrees Portland and Startup Maine.