West End civic group to consider how to battle Airbnb

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports the West End Civic Association next week discusses "what needs to be done to control the proliferation of AirBnBs and illegal rentals in West End apartment buildings."

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the Amy Lowell Community Room, 65 Martha Rd.

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Your rent?

I'm confused. Which rent? I thought you owned that bridge over your head...

I kid, I kid...or do I?

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I would show up and tell

I would show up and tell dissenters "pay my rent or shut the (expletive) up."

Hopefully they would respond with "Pay your own rent or get the fuck out." You want to run a hotel? Buy a hotel.

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40

Making money off an asset

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by trying to cheat past rules and costs by which existing businesses in that same space are playing.

Each AirBnb property is taking occupancies away from hotels, motels, and B&Bs -- just avoiding zoning, taxes, regulations, and other costs.

Much of the AirBnb properties are also taking units off the owner-resident and rental markets, as well as driving up prices for everyone.

Here's what you do: enforce AirBnb "hosts" (ha!) complying with all the existing regulations and costs for hotels, including zoning. They won't be able to, because cheating the rules is the business model.

The next thing you do, for the good of actual residents of MA, is heavy taxes on owners of residential real estate who are not residents of MA, or, at least, not residents of the US. Boston real estate is not an "investment" or "store of value" for wealthy overseas people trying to get their money out of their own economy before their corrupt and unstable stock market collapses. They need to circumvent their country's capital controls some other way, put the money in an S&P 500 index fund, and leave our housing alone.

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We don't have protectionist

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We don't have protectionist regulations for existing hotels. What do you think they are, taxis or liquor stores?

Keeping housing prices from spiking is a reasonable goal. But a better way to do that is to allow construction of more housing, without requirements that drive up prices like mandatory parking minimums. Which is just the type of thing neighborhood associations fight.

To be fair

the people who ran the city in the 1950's did a lot to mitigate this issue by, you know, demolishing tons of residential buildings. I guess we'll see if Walsh is the same kind of visionary.

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It's big business now

AirBnB would be fine if it were what it was originally marketed as: a way to rent out space in a home IN WHICH YOU LIVED to make a little money or save a little money if you were the traveller. But now they are a BIG business which basically cheats the city out of hotel tax and adds a lot of transient traffic to the neighborhood. Here's an article I recommend:

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/economy/airbnb-gold-rush/

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I sort of agree

What does the hotel tax pay for? It would be easy to request that AirBnB pay taxes actually. In fact depending how you look at the law AirBnb owners should already be paying it

Massachusetts imposes a room occupancy excise tax of 5.7 percent on rooms rented for $15 or more per day. Each Massachusetts city and town xls format of Local Option Rooms Adoption has the option of levying up to an additional 6 percent (6.5 percent in the city of Boston) (see TIR 09-13). In addition, Massachusetts imposes a convention center financing fee (see TIR 05-1) of 2.75 percent on room occupancy in hotels, motels, or other lodging establishments in Boston, Cambridge, Chicopee, Springfield, West Springfield, and Worcester.

The total tax rate is applied only to the rent received from an individual who occupies the lodgings for 90 consecutive days or less. Generally, you are responsible for collecting and remitting this tax if you are an individual or business operating a hotel, motel, lodging house, or a private club offering sleeping accommodations, and the relationship between you and the occupant is not that of landlord and tenant

But I think that people that share a building should be able to decide whether AirBnB is ok.