The airbnb app shows listings on a map although it doesn't give addresses it doesn't seem like it would be that hard for the city to track down some of these unlicensed rentals. The real problem is that the fine for being caught is not very high so people who I know who worry that their units might not pass the inspection have done the math and realized that it is better to fly under the radar rather than get the permit. The city needs to increase enforcement as well as the penalty if they want to improve compliance with the permit law.


Marshall Runkel and Chloe Eudaly are totally full of shit. Or, they are really so dumb as to not be able to figure out something that dozens of other cities without direct access to Airbnb already have for enforcement. A city doesn’t need access to Airbnb’s hidden data to enforce the laws. It takes some interns, some additional inspectors a computer, WiFi, and a car along with free and easy access to portlandmaps to look up owner name and address. Then you do what cities from Berlin to Santa Monica to New Irleans do: you find the most obvious scofflaws and start fining people. It’s actually even easier than hunt and peck because the city has just been ignoring hundreds of neighborhood complaints about specific Airbnb properties. If it’s incorrect, like an incorrect traffic ticket, they can show proof they are compliant. BTW Berlin fines Airbnb scofflaws tens of thousands of dollars (Euros) per pop and that definitely has stopped it.

But really, what do we expect from a Commissioner who can’t even be bothered to budget for additional much needed building permit staff in general but instead blows over $800k hiring new social media and graphic design staff instead. What an incompetent.

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