The successful petition drive by a local short-term rental host not only demonstrates the public demand for home sharing – it also provides the South Portland City Council with a much-needed opportunity to scrap its onerous restrictions and embrace what has become a clear economic engine for local families and businesses alike.

In South Portland, the typical Airbnb host shares their space for about four nights a month, bringing in $7,900 per year to pay their rent or mortgage, save for retirement and age in place in the communities they love.

And yet, South Portland’s ordinance bars residents from sharing their own homes, although renting a home does not transform the property into a commercial hotel any more than a garage sale transforms a home into the local mall or providing music lessons to local kids turns one’s home into the Lyric Music Theater.

Next door, the Portland City Council identified the benefits of responsible home sharing, passing legislation that honors the tradition of vacation rentals on Portland’s islands, while also acknowledging how the growth of home sharing in mainland neighborhoods is helping people remain in their homes and spurring spending in local shops and restaurants. As a result, that city’s ordinance has become a model for cities and towns across the country.

Airbnb is proud to be part of the dynamic travel economy in every corner of Vacationland, and we stand ready and willing to continue working with the South Portland council to craft new rules that foster the economic opportunity of the home-sharing economy.

Andrew Kalloch

public policy specialist, Airbnb

New York