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Short-term rentals: Unpacked

With many questions circulating about short-term rentals like Airbnb and what’s allowed and what’s not, we’ve got the scoop on the recent regulations imposed by the City of Boston.

Starting on on January 1, 2019, short-term rentals in Boston will need to register with the City of Boston. According to the Boston Globe, only 36 properties have registered with the city.

Back in June, a citywide ordinance established new guidelines and regulations for short-term rentals in Boston.

The Walsh administration and some neighborhood groups believe the wildly popular short-term rental industry is making Boston’s housing shortage much worse because landlords take apartments out of the general rental market to lease them by the night to tourists.

Airbnb investors and apartment tenants are now prohibited from renting their homes by the night, and property owners are not be allowed to list more than one unit on the short-term rental website.

So what exactly is a short-term rental? A short-term rental is the use of a residential unit for residential occupancy — for a period of fewer than 28 consecutive calendar days — for a fee.

What is a limited share unit?
Limited Share Units have a private bedroom or shared space in an owner-operator’s primary residence. The owner would be present during the rental. The fee for this type of unit is $25 per year. Occupancy is limited to three guest bedrooms or six guests, whichever is fewer.

What is a home share unit?
Home Share Units have a whole unit available for a short-term rental at the primary residence of an owner-operator. The fee is $200 per year. Occupancy is limited to five bedrooms or 10 guests, whichever is fewer.

What is an owner-adjacent unit?
Owner-Adjacent Units are within owner-occupied two- or three-family buildings. In this situation, the owner lists a single secondary unit as a short-term rental. The fee is $200 per year.

What is a Sunset Unit?
These are units with leases for short-term rentals as of June 1, 2018, that are not otherwise eligible under the ordinance. The City has allowed them to continue to operate as short-term rentals until the lease ends or September 1, 2019, whichever date comes first.

It’s is unclear exactly how enforcement of these new regulations will be executed. Violators of the new regulations could face fines. Airbnb has filed a suit against the City of Boston to contest the law on the grounds that internet companies can’t be held responsible for what people are posting on their platform.

As of now, the city will delay enforcement while a judge looks at the case.

For more information about short-term rental regulations in the City of Boston visit here! 

So there you have it.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Good riddance. This city needed more traditional apartment supply & no one but operators are going to complain about the increase fees & taxes. Another win for the citizens of Boston.