PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine is known as 'Vacationland', but the largest city in the state is proposing some restrictions on a popular type of lodging for tourists: short term rentals.
You've probably heard of companies like Air BnB and Home Away. Property owners post pictures and descriptions of their homes on those sites, then tourists are able to rent out a room, an apartment, or an entire house for a short period of time.
But problems have popped up in Portland. Residents have complained about loud tenants and the constant flow of strangers in an out of their neighbors' homes. Others have said having an unlimited number of short-term rentals is not helping the city's housing crisis.
The city's housing committee is recommending some restrictions at Monday's first reading. All property owners will be allowed to rent our their primary residences as short-term rentals, meaning if you live there, you can rent your space. Non-owner occupied single family homes or condos would not be allowed to be rented short term, except for on the islands.
Other restrictions include requiring multi-family and mixed use buildings to register as short term rentals and pay fees. There is also a proposed cap of 300 non-owner occupied short term rentals in mainland Portland, with a limit of no more than 5 units per person.
The goal of the regulations is to reduce the negative impact that short-term rentals are having on Portland's housing stock. Officials say Portland is in a housing crisis, and residents have complained that those who want to live in Portland year-round are paying the price.
Other believe the restrictions are going too far. Melva Gunnison, an employee at Cottage Connections in Boothbay, says her company has had great success with short-term rental sites like Air BnB, and that Portland should look at they way other Maine communities, like Rockland, are handling things before putting so many restrictions in place.
The first reading of the proposed changes for short-term rentals in the city of Portland is scheduled for Monday, March 20. Final action on the topic is scheduled for next week.