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South Portland Approves Regulations Of Short-Term Rentals

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.

“Over the last couple years there's been a proliferation of purchases of homes from people who never intended to live there, who bought them strictly as investments to run them as little hotels,” says Morgan.

This ordinance bans that practice, but it does still allow people in the city's commercially zoned areas to rent out un-hosted homes.

Morgan says the ordinance was in response to concerns by people in his district about behavior by renters and also concerns about maintaining the community. The un-hosted short-term rentals also make South Portland's tight housing market even tighter.

City Councilor Adrian Dowling opposed the ordinance. He says he agrees that un-hosted short-term rentals need to be regulated, but would have liked to see a less extreme measure put into place. He also says he would have liked to see un-hosted rentals by people who do live in their houses but go away for part of the year allowed in the residential zones.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.