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Short-term rentals are legal but regulated in Medford

I see here in the Mail Tribune that Ashland is cracking down on people who illegally rent out their homes for less than 30 days. Is the practice illegal in Medford?

— M.F., Medford

You may not think of Medford as a vacation rental hub, but a quick survey of online vacation rental sites show a handful of Medford houses up for rentals.

And while it may be illegal to rent out your Ashland residence for fewer than 30 days, it is legal in Medford — but it comes at a price.

Any dwelling rented to anyone for less than 27 days falls under the Medford city code, which treats it like a bed and breakfast. That would mean the business should obtain a business license, collect the 9 percent "transient lodging tax" and pay it to the city's Finance Department just as a motel or inn would.

They need to keep the books like a B&B and pay the tax just like any other lodging business.

You can look it up, M.F. It's all there in the city code, Section 8.801.

But the issue virtually never comes up here.

"Unless it's brought to our attention, we probably won't know it," says Paul Morrow from the finance department. "It's not like a business opening up on Central."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.