Portland Homesharing Regulations

Homesharing is an agreement between two parties in which one party rents out all or part of his or her home to another party on a temporary, one-time basis. Recognized homesharing companies include Airbnb and HomeAway among others. These types of businesses are increasingly popping up and growing in cities. While homesharing represents a new option offered by technology platforms, cities are finding that these innovative services also present a new set of safety, taxing and business challenges.

What are the target goals?

City leaders in Portland, Oregon were open toward homesharing upon its arrival in that city in March of 2014. Portland soon announced a partnership with Airbnb called the Shared City Initiative. The Shared City Initiative has agreed to help Portland renters collect taxes on behalf of the city, and "cut the red tape" in the city's short term rental market.

In July of 2014, the city council approved an ordinance that legalized the short-term rental of one- and two-bedroom units in privately owned homes. Short-term renters are required to go through a permitting/approval process with the city, and face fines for failing to do so. Part of that process includes a safety inspection and neighborhood notification. Individuals who opt to rent more than 2 bedrooms are required to endure a more onerous permitting process and must complete a Land Use Conditional Use Review application. Proposals that include more than 6 guestrooms are not considered Accessory Short-Term Rentals and are subject to additional commercial building code and zoning code regulations.

How is financing managed?

Airbnb's partnership with Portland to collect and remit taxes to the city on behalf of its hosts was groundbreaking. Airbnb collects an 11.5% tax based on what guests pay to hosts (6% for the City of Portland and 5.5% for Multnomah County's transient lodging tax) and the payment is sent quarterly to the city of Portland. The Shared City Initiative also makes it possible for hosts to donate a percentage of their earnings to a local cause or organization.

Other Details

Homesharing units are also commonly referred to as accessory short-term rentals. Portland was the first city to partner with Airbnb in the Shared City Initiative. The city's regulation can be found at this link: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/65603

Resources
http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/City-Solutions-and-Applied-Research/Sharing%20Economy%20Brief.pdf

http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/City-Solutions-and-Applied-Research/Brief%20-%20Shifting%20Perceptions%20of%20Collaborative%20Consumption2015.pdf

http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/City-Solutions-and-Applied-Research/Report%20-%20%20Cities%20the%20Sharing%20Economy%20and%20Whats%20Next%20final.pdf

NLC Contact Information
Nicole DuPuis
City Solutions and Applied Research
NDuPuis@nlc.org
1-202-626-3050

Last Modified: July 2015