Airbnb Has Shut Down 524 Portland Locations Since January

The rental units violated the company's new policy against multiple listings by the same operator.

The short-term rental company Airbnb announced Friday it had removed 524 listings since January that violated the company's policy requiring people not to list more than one entire home.

Those listings also potentially violated city regulations that require operators to live in the home they're renting out on Airbnb or through other short-term rental companies.

At issue is whether short-term rentals are taking away housing that could instead be available to long-term renters.

The 524 units removed is higher than some previous estimates for how many illegal listings existed on Airbnb in Portland.

When the website FiveThirtyEight published an analysis of commercial listings a year ago, Portland ranked near the top of cities with the largest percentage of commercial listings.

It counted roughly 420 listings that met its definition of homes that might otherwise be rented out to people seeking to live in Portland.

The FiveThirtyEight analysis looked at homes booked for more than 180 days —generally, a violation of city rules which require residents to live in the homes they're Airbnb-ing for all but 90 days.

As FiveThirtyEight reported at the time, the company rejected its numbers.

Hotels and bed-and-breakfasts were exempt from the crackdown, the company said.

The number of overall Airbnb listings in Portland has increased since last year. It's now 4,500, according to Airbnb's numbers. FiveThirtyEight identified 2,700 listings last year.

Airbnb spokeswoman Laura Rillos continued to dispute the methodology used by FiveThirtyEight.

"An approach based on the number of days booked can never accurately identify units that would otherwise be available for long-term tenants and some units identified using this metric are bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels," Rillos says.

"We recognized we can do more to address unwanted commercial activity in Portland, which is why we removed 524 listings through our One Host, One Home policy, but we also want to work with the city on a comprehensive reform of the current regulations to more effectively address the issue."

Critics of the "One Host, One Home" policy have said it does not rid the site of commercial operators who may seek to register their properties under more than one name.

Since Portland allowed Airbnb to operate in Portland, the company has resisted crackdowns on people listing homes on their site. Just a small fraction of people listing properties on Airbnb get the required inspection and permit from the city.

Just this week, the Portland Tribune reported that the company has been pushing to repeal that inspection requirement.

As WW reported last year, the regulations were so poorly enforced that an Airbnb manager was herself violating the rules. When asked whether the manager was caught up in the expungement of listings, Airbnb officials said she “self-removed the listings.”

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