Boston City Council Imposes Strictest Rules Yet for Airbnb Rentals. How Will This Affect You?

On Wednesday June 13th, 2018, the Boston City Council imposed the strictest rules yet in the nation regarding the Airbnb rental industry. In a move meant to control the popular short-term rental business and help regulate the tough housing market, the Boston City Council enacted numerous rules and regulations meant to slow down the increasing number of Airbnb rentals in Boston. The rules prohibit investors and tenants from renting their home through short-term rental websites such as Airbnb. However, homeowners and owner-occupants are allowed to continue operating short-term rentals through their property as they please. Mayor Martin J. Walsh first proposed this bill in January, and is now prepared to sign it into law.

What is Airbnb? 

Airbnb is growing company which operates an online platform allowing people to offer short-term leases and rentals from their home. Consumers have the ability to rent short-term apartments, home-stays, holiday cottages, and condominiums. Airbnb has swept the nation in popularity, becoming an affordable alternative to hotel stays in expensive areas, and a lucrative way to generate side money.

How Will This Affect You?

Supporters are thrilled about the new laws regulating Airbnb’s, hoping the legislation will decrease constraints from Boston’s tight housing market. Currently, an estimated 2,000 apartments are being rented on a nightly basis through Airbnb in Boston, instead of through a traditional 12 month lease. After nearly three years of evaluating the subject, the Boston City Council decided it was time to enact serious rules and regulations.

The new rules officially take effect on January 1st, however current Airbnb hosts (who are not homeowners or owner-occupants) have until September 2019 to continue operations. This change was enacted to prevent landlords from facing numerous apartments vacancies, while also giving the hundreds of renters hosting Airbnb stays to find a new source of income.

The new rule also requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city of Boston annually, and pay a $200 fee. The registration and fee is meant to give city officials a clearer picture of the short-term rental business, to better understand and improve the future of Boston’s housing market.
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