Airbnb

Nora Flaherty / Maine Public

Cities and towns all over Maine are trying to figure out how to deal with a proliferation of short-term vacation rentals, like Airbnbs.

Airbnb says usage is way up this summer season compared to last. 

After an emotionally-charged city council meeting, South Portland is set to either repeal a second version of its short-term rental ordinance or send it to voters in November.

Airbnb, a San Franciso-based global travel organization, announced Monday that it has remitted $5.3 million in taxes on behalf of Maine’s host community since its tax agreement with the state went into effect a year ago.

Andrew Kalloch, a public policy manager for Airbnb, said the company’s tax collection program offers a seamless process for individuals and families who share their home to make ends meet while providing a valuable source of revenue to the state.

South Portland's city council has passed an ordinance designed to deal with the growth in short-term rentals.

Councilors voted to pass the ordinance, 6-1, Tuesday night. It will make it illegal for people who own homes in residential neighborhoods, but don't live in them, to offer them as short-term rentals.

City Councilman Claude Morgan represents District 1, which includes the popular Willard Beach area. He says for some people, renting out a room in their house works well as an income supplement, but many have taken the short-term rental system a step further.

The number of short-term rental units in Portland has soared over the past year, thanks to home-sharing services like Airbnb. But city planners are concerned that less than a quarter have so far been registered with the city.

Last year, the Housing Committee passed several regulations on short-term rentals, including a requirement to register with the city annually by Jan. 1.

Michael Russell, who heads Portland's Permitting and Inspections Department, says the penalty for failing to register by is $100 a day.

PORTLAND, Maine - Officials in Portland have passed rules that are aimed at preventing the city's limited housing stock from being converted to short-term rentals.

The City Council on Monday night voted to cap short-term rentals in non-owner-occupied homes, excluding the islands, at 300 units.

The rules also require all hosts to pay fees to register such units with the city's Housing Safety Office beginning Jan. 1. No one will be allowed to register more than five short-term rentals in buildings in which they hold a financial interest.

PORTLAND, Maine - New numbers from the online short-term rental marketplace Airbnb show that about 174,000 people used the service in Maine 2016.  The company says that's a 100 percent increase from the year before. "Hosts," as they're called, in Maine, earned more than $26 million last year.

The majority of those rentals were in Portland, where about 51,000 people rented Airbnb's -- earning owners about $7 million.

The other top markets were Bar Harbor, South Portland, Ellsworth and Old Orchard Beach.

Tom Porter / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - Hoteliers, innkeepers and municipal officials in Maine and across the country are facing serious competition from a recent explosion in private, short-term, online vacation rentals. The main player is the Web site Airbnb, based in Portland, Oregon, which helps homeowners market their property - mostly for short-term vacations.