It’s all well and good taking advantage of the global reach that Airbnb has captured, but it’s imperative that you do so within the parameters of the law. Boston is a city that is visited and loved by millions each year, but it’s also loved by the residents. So, Mayor Martin J. Walsh acted to find a common ground between short-term rentals (tourists) and long-term housing (residents).
You see, Boston recognizes that Airbnb boosts the economy and provides unique opportunities, which is why they want to support it. But, Mayor Walsh also has a responsibility to keep housing prices in check. He stated –
“… this ordinance is an important step towards our goal of reducing housing costs by creating disincentives to taking units off the market for use as short-term rentals. It also allows for the continued use of short-term rentals in scenarios that are non-disruptive to our neighborhoods and support our tourism industry.”
Within the regulations, they introduced a simple system that meant all short-term rental units must be classified and registered with the City of Boston. But, it also includes other stipulations, such as the maximum number of nights it can be rented out per year and the requirement of an annual license fee.
Furthermore, it aims to protect the guests, as it prevents any property that has outstanding housing, building, sanitary, zoning-code or fire violations from being listed on any platform – not just Airbnb. In order to enforce the ordinance, officials made it clear that Airbnb must supply data and information on short-term rental listings on a monthly basis. It must define the location and the occupancy number of the property.
In terms of the restrictions and the annual license fee, they are completely different depending on what type of unit you have. That’s why the ordinance has been divided up into three tiers…
Limited Share Unit
This is a type of listing which is limited to either a bedroom or a single space within a primary residence. That means the owner of property must be present whilst the guest is staying. The annual fee for a limited share unit is $25 per year.
Home Share Unit
To classify as a home share unit, the property must be a primary residence for the owner at least nine months out of the year, then rented out for the remainder. That’s because a home share unit is when the whole property is rented out, and the owner is not present. The annual fee attached is $100 per year.
In a nutshell, an investor unit is an entire block that is available for short-term rental, within a whole dwelling that is neither occupied by an owner or tenant. As a result, the annual fee is considerably more – $500 per year.
Ultimately, Mayor Walsh endeavored to create an ordinance that benefitted tourists, residents and the City of Boston. By allowing Airbnb to continue flourishing but introducing basic regulations, some would say he has certainly achieved that.