May 13, 2014
In June 2014, Portland City Council will be considering a proposal to legalize more short-term rentals (such as Air BnB and VRBO). Part of this proposal would require short-term rentals to pay the appropriate lodging fees. Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman will propose to dedicate 25 percent of the City’s portion of those lodging fees to an affordable rental housing fund.
Commissioner Saltzman said, “We are at a tipping point in the future of Portland and we need to ensure we still retain affordable rental housing so that families who work in Portland can afford to live in Portland.” Saltzman added, “We have a crisis of availability; we need more resources to build more units to keep pace with the needs of current residents.”
Short-term rentals have the potential to exacerbate Portland’s current housing shortage of affordable rental units. Portland has the second tightest rental market in the nation behind New York City. In just the last year, Portland rents increased more than 11 percent, while family incomes have stayed flat.
Combined with the news that Air BnB’s North American Operational Headquarters in Portland will bring 160 new jobs to the city, Commissioner Saltzman’s affordable rental housing proposal creates a win-win for Portlanders.