Portland fines vacation rental website HomeAway over users’ unpaid lodging taxes

Brian Sharples
HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples poses at the company’s Austin, Texas, headquarters on Friday, Nov. 10, 2006. (AP Photo/Jack Plunkett/file)

Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive
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on June 03, 2015 at 3:11 PM, updated June 03, 2015 at 3:31 PM

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Portland’s revenue bureau has slapped thevacation-rental website HomeAway with a big fine over the company’s failure to collect lodging taxes on its users’ behalf.

The city ordered HomeAway, which pairs travelers with people who want to rent out their property, to pay $326,500 and said it would continue to assess penalties until the company complies with the city’s rules. It’s the second fine the city has assessed against an online short-term rental company operating in Portland, and by far the largest.

In a letter to the company, the revenue bureau said the HomeAway had 330 active listings in the city of Portland.

In a statement, the company said it remains in contact with the city over its short-term rental regulations, but declined to comment further.

The city last year legalized some short-term rentals in the style of HomeAway and its larger competitor, Airbnb.

But among the regulations it placed on such services — at least, when they handle payments — was a requirement to collect lodging taxes from the travelers, just as a hotel would. The city has also required operators of the rentals to get a permit from the city and undergo a safety inspection. (Only a fraction of users have done so.)

The city earlier fined a company called Vacation Home Rentals $3,000 for similar violations.

— Elliot Njus

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Local Portland Realtor with 10 years experience specializing in residential sales and investment property. Tom Ramsey Oregon Real Estate Principal Broker John L Scott Real Estate Phone: 503-481-0501 tomramsey1@gmail.com www.PortlandHouseListings.com
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