Portsmouth Officials Deny Appeal in AirBnB Rental Dispute

Nov 22, 2017

Dozens of rooms in Portsmouth are currently listed on AirBnB.com

City officials in Portsmouth have upheld a decision to prohibit a couple from renting out a second home through AirBnB.

Portsmouth couple Matthew Beebe and Barbara Jenny bought the house next door with the intention that one day their daughter will live in it.

In the meantime, they planned to rent out the house through AirBnB. But before they got the chance, the city served them with a cease-and-desist letter.

The city says the home, which is in a residentially zoned area, can’t be used for short-term rentals without a special exemption.

The couple argued that city ordinances are in conflict with state law and that enforcement of those ordinances has been arbitrary.

Attorney Frank Quinn, representing the couple, debated that point Tuesday with Board of Adjustment member Arthur Parrott.

“The city could very easily issue cease-and-desists against any number of people who are operating AirBnBs or short term rentals and that hasn’t happened," said Quinn.

Parrot replied, "To be blunt about it – so what? A violation, is a violation, isn’t it?”

The board voted unanimously to deny the couple’s appeal. But they could still apply for a special exemption.