PORTLAND – The Portland Planning Commission held a hearing Tuesday night on the pros and cons of allowing people to rent homes through the website Airbnb.
The growing international web service allows residents to rent out rooms or their entire home to short-term guests and travelers.
In Portland, neighbors worry opening homes as short-term rentals could add traffic and trouble to quiet communities. The city is considering new rules that would regulate and possibly tax the informal lodging system.
The company has wrestled with jurisdictions that consider it an unregulated hotel industry. In Portland, renters using the site pay no hotel taxes. New York City has levied fines against people who rented their homes through the service, according to the New York Times.
“I think these need to be considered more like businesses,” said Bill Perry of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association on Tuesday. “If they’re not going to go through the conditional use permit zone, you need to find other ways to make sure the consumer is being protected.”
In March, Airbnb announced plans to move its North American headquarters to the Blagen Block building on Southwest Ash Street in Portland’s Old Town. The San Francisco-based company will keep its main offices in California, but said it would hire up to 160 people for the new Portland location.
Some of the proposed regulations for Airbnb rentals include home inspections and a permit fee.
The city council will vote on suggested new rules in May or June. If approved, changes would go into effect in July, according to The Oregonian.