PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Short-term rentals have become a very popular choice for travelers, thanks to websites such as Airbnb. Property owners can rent their houses or apartments to tourists for a short period of time and decide how much to charge for the service.
Cities across the country and the world are finding that the popularity comes with some problems. That list includes Portland, where the city council is proposing restrictions on which properties can be listed on short-term rental websites.
The proposal that is being put forward says that those who want to list their property on Airbnb can only do so if that is their primary residence. Meaning, you have to live in your home or apartment to be able to rent it out short term. Owners must also register their properties with the city, and have them available for inspection.
Property owners that have used online short term rent sites for a long time feel the proposal is too restrictive. Many feel reducing the number of low-cost lodging options will hurt Portland's tourism industry and may cause visitors to spend less money here, or travel to a different city instead.
But Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling says many apartment owners in the city are choosing to rent out their open units on air b-and-b *instead of offering them to people who want to sign a lease, which is adding to the city's housing crisis.
It is estimated that property owners can make up to five times more in a year using with short term rentals.
Innkeepers and bed and breakfast owners are also angry because Air b and b rentals don't have to comply with the same state regulations that those places do.
Residents will have the chance to speak up about the issue Thursday night. A public hearing on the issue is being held at Portland City hall at 7 p.m.