Owners of condos in new Brighton complex won't be allowed to rent them out on Airbnb

Architect's rendering of 99 Tremont St.

Architect's rendering of 99 Tremont St.

Developer Jim Keliher had two pieces of good news for members of the Brighton-Allston Civic Association last night: He's decided to sell the 62 units at his new two-building complex at 99 Tremont St. in Brighton as condos rather than rent them as apartments - and he will include language in the initial condo-association rules that purchasers are barred from renting them out on Airbnb and similar services.

Members of the neighborhood association detest new apartments because they only increase the number of alleged transients in the neighborhood. Ditto for services such as Airbnb.

Keliher added that the condo docs will also have a provision limiting the number of investor-owned units to 25% of all the units in the building.

Under rules set by the BPDA - which will have to approve the switch from apartments to condos, Keliher will also set aside eight of the units for sale to people making no more than 70% of the area median income.



Free tagging: 



In that case, I'll pay $1 + the cost of building it for one.

limiting the number of

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limiting the number of investor-owned units to 25% of all the units in the building.

Those limits are hard to apply equitably. If 15 of the units are already rentals, and one owner plans decides to live abroad for a year, then does that owner have to keep it vacant because of the cap?

Maybe it would be better to have a rule that limiting each unit to being rented out for at most X days every Y years.

Not if they clear it with the condo association

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Usually, a rental will be approved if it is clearly temporary. The key bit is actually going to the condo association and asking for its blessing. Better yet: bring your prospective tenant when you do.

Reverse that

Rentals are more likely to be approved by condo associations if they are longer term, a year or more. It's the short-term rentals they want to prohibit.

Short term versus temporary

Short term = AirBnB type rental

Temporary would mean that the owner is leasing it out for a longer period while maintaining it as their primary residence (say, professor doing a stint in another country).

When my neighbor was sent on temporary assignment to Virginia for work, he rented his house to a colleague for 15 months. That was temporary, but it wasn't short term.

Similarly, someone in the condoplex where I own in PDX came before the board and wanted to rent to her sister while working abroad for ten months, and that was approved after a couple of background checks (even though it was an exemption to the >1 year rule).

It's probably just to start

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Over time, whether people choose to live there or rent it out will fluctuate. I assume that they want to start out with a 25/75 mix and then nature will take it's course.

I wonder if there are shades

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I wonder if there are shades of meaning in the terminology chosen.

"limit investor-owned units to no more than 25% of total number of units in building" does not necessarily mean the same thing as "no more than 25% of units may be rented out (as opposed to owner-occupied)"

Maybe it means that there are restrictions on businesses owning them, owning more than one, operating a business in a unit (in this case, operating a unit AS a business).

There's a wide range between plain vanilla baseline condo docs (that are common to something like (I'd guess) 90% of associations) at one end and cliquy, big-brother-ish, insular, makes-an-NYC-coop-look-chummy&welcoming" at the other.

Hmm, I think most sets of

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Hmm, I think most sets of Condo Docs have rules about leasing.

Our docs require a one year lease, which must be on file with the management company.

As an owner, this is a GOOD thing. Do you really want to share a wall with a unit that has random people coming and going like a hotel? I certainly don't.

While I'm sure the vast majority of AirBNB users are good tenants, you've got a much increased concern around security as well as how these tenants treat the property. Not saying there aren't bad owners as well, but this increases the risks.

That's a horrible idea and

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That's a horrible idea and upsetting that the neighborhood requested this. It's short sighted at best. The city and state are putting limits on short term rentals that will keep them for their intended purposes, a source of income for owners to allow more people to afford the HIGH cost of living in Boston. Limits are put here that it needs to be owner occupied housing and can only be rented for a set number of days per year.

An outright ban on short term rentals benefits no one but congratulations to the few vocal neighbors who demanded this without discovering all of the facts behind the short term rental laws.

You Need To Accept That Nobody Likes A Transient

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Rental units are the reason that prices in Boston are too high. The goal is not to lower rents but to lower the cost of home ownership. And the more owner occupancy a condo building can state the cheaper it is to buy into such - as low owner occupancy means financing for purchase is very difficult. It's also cyclical as when a condo falls below 50% owner occupancy, buyers who want to be occupants are harder to come by. Nobody wants to live with a bunch of college students.

We're on the same page here.

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We're on the same page here. Agree with you fully on rent/buy breakdowns. My concern is the ban on short term (Airbnb) rentals. These will be capped by statute soon and are a great way for those who may not be able to afford the high costs to buy in Boston to make a second source of income by renting nights here and there to pay the mortgage. 2-3 nights a month of 200-300 / night rental puts a SUBSTANTIAL dent n a $2,500/ month mortgage payment.

is that what actually happens though?

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It's a wonderful dream, and AB&B definitely sells that image of the mild mannered homeowner making a few extra bucks. But I believe that in most markets, it's more like "already well to do investors take housing stock off the long term market to make hotel profits without any of the hotel taxes or liabilities, while simultaneously creeping out neighbors"

Airbnb is NOT the reqson

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Airbnb is NOT the reqson housing in Boston is high. was high long before that and will be high without it. Most people rent out a room. Very few buy up multiple properties for that reason. Very easy to limit it to one listing per person. Don't need to ban it outright.

nearly every condo

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nearly every condo association in the city has this rule. my building was built in 1989 and it was in the original condo docs in 1989. it isn't new. the demand at the baia meeting is coming from people who live in single family houses and never looked at condo docs and don't realize that this is already the standard.

In Allston, there are also lots of buildings that restrict number of units rented out at all. Or say that you can rent out a unit for a year if you are traveling or something, but cannot rent it out for two consecutive years. The restriction on number of investors is not as common as the prevention of short term rentals (which is pretty much universal), but probably is ~25% of condos.

You are exactly right. 3

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You are exactly right. 3 middle aged tourists from getmany are far less risky than a one year lease with a tenant you can't remove AND mose bnb are considered owner occupied. Traditional rentals are far worse and bad for the building than Airbnb. Only people against Airbnb are the jealous ones who can't do it themselves. Condos are way too restrictive.

That should be standard in every condo doc

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It's bad enough when you live in a multiple unit development you are living with a bunch of unknown people. Add a couple of Airbnb's now you are living in a tenement.

Scared of unknown people

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If your first thought is that you’re living with a bunch unknown people in multi building then condo life in the city isn’t for you anyway.


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Don't you get to know your neighbors [provided they are the same people for more than a few days]?

I rented an A-B&B in a large building and

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I once rented an A-B&B in a large building and it felt creepy.

It was the first & only time I used Air B&B. From what I was told and saw, someone had lived there, but then moved out and used it as a rental. Large building (maybe 100 units?).

What was creepy was just going in the garage and walking down the hall. People had UPS packages in the hall, for example, with nothing stopping me from inspecting or taking them. The unit also had a ton of signs reminding renters about quiet hours, not propping exterior doors open, not smoking in the hall, etc. All clearly posted following bad experiences that impacted the neighbors.

Bottom line; If I lived in a multi-unit building, I certainly would not want it turned into a hotel.

That's really weird.

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There wasn't a management office or anything that the UPS packages could be put into so that management or somebody could sign for the packages, and thus reduce the chance of their being stolen? That sounds rather out of line, to me.

I can see reminding people not to prop exterior doors open, or no smoking in the hall, etc. People who rent apartments are old enough not to have to constantly be reminded, but sometimes it's necessary, due to people who violate those rules and put other people in a vulnerable position.


Like contract language has ever stopped people from making their place an AirBnB.

As a former condo board member, I can tell

that fines work. Warning first, then $100, $200, $500 for subsequent offenses, most levied for renters flouting quiet hours with loud, late parties. Owners pay attention. In the ten years of my tenure, we rarely issued more than a warning, never got to $500.

My condo laws prevent AirBnB rentals in the building.

My last condo association considered a ban, didn't go with it, but it's a smaller building. A friend lives in a small South End condo building, AirBnb's her place every time she goes away for the weekend, but she's careful about who she rents to, as some college-age renters once caused a noise complaint.

I'd like the option, I guess, but I understand it.