Host2Host Advocacy Update: City of Portland and Airbnb

Wed, May 05, 2021 1:30 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

Submitted by Robert Jordan, Host2Host Board member, Advocacy Chair and host in NE Portland. 

Two City of Portland managers, Scott Karter of the Revenue Division and Mike Liefeld of the Bureau of Development Services (BDS), met in April with the Host2Host (H2H) Advocacy Committee. 

They provided an update about two old subjects:  The Accessory Short-Term Rental (ASTR) Registry and the Pass-Through Registration (PTR) system (which is used exclusively with the Airbnb platform).

The Registry is a collection of all STR addresses the City considers valid. It lives in BDS but has proven very useful to the Revenue Division, particularly to vet non-Airbnb listings.   Most, if not all, new and renewal applications in 2020 and 2021 have been in “pending” status due to the pandemic, but once that backlog has been cleared, the Registry will be instrumental in assisting in enforcement actions. 

Mr. Karter emphasized that the Registry was already proving to be very useful in helping the non-Airbnb platforms remove non-permitted listings from their websites.  H2H would like to use the Registry for recruitment efforts. Mr. Liefeld said the physical inspection process of every 10th STR application is in place, and BDS still do inspections in response to complaints. 

Progress on the Airbnb - Portland PTR system has likewise been greatly slowed down by the pandemic, needing the technical computer interface to handle the transactions. Mr. Liefeld explained that BDS is close to testing an app for their internal use, designed to enhance the communication between the City and Airbnb, thus speeding up and smoothing out the application process for hosts.  H2H provided feedback on some adjustments to the current forms that would assist applicants. 

Current plans for a H2H Meet-Up in June about our advocacy efforts include city staff participation, at which time we hope to hear about progress toward the implementation of the BDS app. The June meetup will also include a presentation of STR taxes and fees and where they are directed. 

You can read the details of how the PTR interface is supposed to work.  First, the legal memorandum of understanding between the platforms and the City. Second, a press release that summarizes the process. These documents are from 2019, but are still the basis for the interface.

Just scheduled: City of Portland meet-up on June 10.  Register @ City of Portland STR Tax Use & PTR Meet-up

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