Short-term vacation rooms on the rise

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

As many as 1,000 Portland homeowners rent out rooms and homes through websites like airbnb.com. They are not licensed and are not paying required hotel/motel taxes.

Joan (not her real name) would like nothing more than to play by the rules. In fact, renting her $54-a-night extra room on airbnb.com without a license and without paying the required taxes eats away at her so much that she says she’s thought of paying the 12.5 percent tax anonymously.

“I would be happy to pay a licensing fee. I would be happy to pay the tax,” Joan says. “I’m actually a very compliant with the law kind of person, and I believe in public services and paying for them.”

So why are Joan and hundreds of other Portlanders like her renting their extra spaces illegally? City code in Portland does not allow short-term vacation rentals in residential zones. Joan says she can’t afford to spend the $4,000 or more trying to get a conditional-use permit from the city to run a B&B. She’s retired and living on a limited income. Besides, she only has one extra room, which makes her a far cry from a full-on B&B.

Read more at the Portland Tribune.

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