By: David P. Ginzer / July 31, 2019

Portland area cities and towns have passed, or are considering, ordinances aimed at reducing the availability of short term rentals through sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway.  The municipalities contend that properties being used for short term rentals are impacting the community feel and reducing the availability of affordable housing.

Portland and South Portland, where ordinances restricting short term rentals are already in place, have indicated that enforcement actions against those that are not complying with the new restrictions are forthcoming. The Cities are contracting with third-parties, such as HostComplaince, to identify short-term rentals offered in violation of the city ordinances.  Using the information provided, Portland and South Portland are sending notices to property owners threatening fines and legal action should owners not comply.

South Portland City Clerk Emily Scully recently reported that South Portland will institute enforcement actions if owners are not in compliance by Wednesday August 7, 2019.  Portland has similarly indicated to property owners its intent to commence enforcement actions. Both the Portland and South Portland ordinances impose heavy fines against those who are renting properties in violation of the ordinances.

Municipalities, such as Cape Elizabeth, are also considering adopting or strengthening ordinances aimed against short term rentals. Portland, which had enacted its original ordinance in 2017, went back to impose additional restrictions in late 2018.  It is important for property owners who are engaging in short term rentals to stay up to date on local ordinances. Failure to register or otherwise comply with short term rental ordinances may have significant and long term impacts upon property owners.

Please contact us if you need assistance in responding to enforcement actions or if you require assistance in making sure you are in compliance with the new laws.

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