Boston Looks to Clamp Down on Short-Term Home Rentals, Airbnb

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Boston Looks to Clamp Down on Short-Term Home Rentals, Airbnb

Photo: Shutterstock.com


The city of Boston has proposed regulations on short-term home rentals more restrictive than previously expected, which could cut the number of units available for rental by 2,000.

Under the proposed ordinances, booking firms like Airbnb and VRBO would be required to “actively prevent, remove or de-list any ineligible listings” and file monthly reports on locations and length of rentals.

The rules would allow owners who live in their homes to rent out rooms without limit, while also allowing owner-occupants of two- and three-family properties to rent one unit for up to 120 nights a year. Corporate rentals of 10 nights or more would still be permitted, as would units that would be used by people visiting the city for medical care.

Airbnb expressed disappointment in the proposed rules, having expected less restrictive final regulations based on previous negotiations, claiming the city’s proposal “violates federal laws, harms middle class Bostonians, and doesn’t fully consider the input from the thousands of families already using home sharing to pay the bills,” said Airbnb spokeswoman Crystal Davis in a statement.

Both the city and Short-term rental advocacy group Boston Host Alliance estimated that 2,000 units would be banned under those rules. State lawmakers are also looking at new rules for Airbnb-style rentals, including something akin to the lodging taxes paid by traditional hotels.

Boston’s City Council has 60 days to vote on the proposal.

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