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Coming soon: More certainty around short-term rental regulations

On April 22, the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) voted to recommend the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package 6 (RICAP 6) amendments, including proposed new regulations for short-term rentals. Next step: City Council will hold a public hearing on June 4 at City Hall to consider the RICAP 6 Recommended Draft.

The code amendment package addresses 45 items, from radio frequency (cell tower) regulations, public art and window requirements to regulating temporary activities such as onsite filming. The amendments range from minor policy matters to technical corrections to the Zoning Code. A few of the items were evaluated by staff and deemed not to need any changes. 

At the April public hearing, the PSC divided the meeting into two parts: 1) Taking public testimony on and voting unanimously in favor of the bulk of the RICAP 6 items, and 2) Using the remainder of the evening to hear testimony on the proposed short-term rental regulations. Community members expressed both concern and support for the proposed changes that would allow residents to rent one or two bedrooms in their single-family house or duplex unit to overnight guests with an administrative permit.  Renting more than three bedrooms would continue to require a conditional use review.

Several Airbnb operators provided testimony describing some of the guests they had hosted, including the parents of a bride who lived down the street, relatives of patients at nearby Providence Hospital and those who returned for multiple visits because they liked the authentic feel of being in a Portland neighborhood. But others commented on impacts, such as noise and traffic generated by guests waking them up early in the morning or late at night. Some expressed opposition to new regulations that would require residential inspections for safety features like interconnected smoke detectors, while others favored additional regulations such as requiring an onsite host.

The commission considered a number of issues but made only one minor refinement to how a household is defined before voting 8 to 1 to move the short-term rentals as part of the RICAP 6 package forward to City Council in their Recommended Draft, in anticipation of the City Council Hearing. 

The City Council hearing will be held on June 4 at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave. Testimony may be given in person and/or writing.

Learn how to testify at City Council hearings. 

View the Recommended Draft.  

Visit the RICAP home page for more information on the regulatory improvement program.