Four in five short-term rental properties available in Portland operate illegally and the city hasn't managed to enforce its regulations on Airbnb-style bookings because it doesn't have the necessary data, city auditors said in a new report.
Cities increasingly are asking or demanding private companies to give them private information to use to try to enforce their laws. But this would be a privacy violation and an illegal, unconstitutional "fishing expedition."
s example of the city's data deficiency, auditors showed that 15 companies such as Airbnb and Vacassa offer short-term rentals in Portland. But none of those regularly give their data to the city, citing user privacy concerns. Auditors said city development and tax officials should require those firms to turn over the data and give it to the Portland Housing Bureau so the short-term rental market may be monitored adequately
Perhaps rather than try to pressure corporations to give them private information, cities should avoid passing laws that they have no ability to enforce.