Councilors split on proposed ban on investor-owned Airbnb units

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports on a hearing yesterday. The council could vote tomorrow on a proposal by Mayor Walsh that would only allow short-term rentals in owner-occupied units.

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Unnecessary.

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This HOA should handle this.

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Voting is closed. 12

Well...

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What about when an investor buys a brownstone and there is no HOA because he/she owns the entire building?

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What HOA?

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If someone buys a whole building and kicks out the tenants, there isn't an HOA to take care of it.

Ditto if a majority of units are owned by one owner.

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Could they exempt all city residents from the ban?

That might help bring the other councillors around to Walsh's idea, while still perhaps slowing the buy-up of residential properties by Chinese investors or New Yorkers, etc. I don't think it would be unconstitutional, as other laws conferring special treatment to city residents (in hiring, taxation, etc) have been allowed before. Did Walsh present a lot of data on who is doing the most Airbnb business these days? Is it "middle class" city residents or rich people in Dubai, or what? Have there indeed been a lot of purchases of homes and condos by investors who don't plan on ever living in Boston?

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What do you have against

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What do you have against Chinese or NYC residents buying property? Are they undesirable neighbors?

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Absentee landlords suck

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Because they leave property vacant or poorly managed.

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Don't let good be the enemy of perfect

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I like the idea that Boston residents could be allowed to run "investor owned" Airbnb rentals. But even then there should be a limit (how about 3?) to the number they can own and run, since otherwise you'd still get rich people or people acting as fronts for outsiders buying up whole buildings to use for this.

I was surprised to see the Globe's editorial against Walsh's proposal. They don't seem to think there is a problem, which IMHO there definitely is.

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Who owns the Globe?

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A very rich man, with very rich friends.

Have they fired Shirley Leung yet?

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Rich friends?

His wedding party was legit just Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. How many friends does he really have?

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LOL

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Yes, because John Henry and friends are getting rich off of AirBnb's - that makes sense.

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I like this, but propose that

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I like this, but propose that instead of a limit, property owners using their Boston properties for short-term rentals face an increasingly higher tax on each unit they use for that purpose. (I'd also recommend having the tax for the first property significantly higher for out-of-area owners.)

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Nope

There are already management companies making all their rentals short term. Owner occupied is the only way to go. You can make plenty of money on normal long term leases.

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What does Cambridge do?

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I'm curious about how our sister city across the river is handling this. I know that there are a lot of old apartments and three family homes that have been repurposed into essentially boarding houses, where guests share a kitchen and bath. Tons of start-up folks stay at those places in and around Kendall. It reminds me of the old boarding houses that used to be all over the south end in the 1970s.

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Thanks for your troll.

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I feel like I made it to the big leagues on UHub. You commented on me solely to be a dick.

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It took me almost three hours to reply

If you've arrived in the big leagues, consider my delay the UH version of getting ignored in the dugout after your first home run.

EDIT: Holy crap, you've only been on UH a month less than me?

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Trouble telling time?

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It took me almost three hours to reply

thegirl's comment was posted at 9:58am. Your (useless) reply was posted at 10:11am. That's 13 minutes, not three hours.

(And don't kid yourself - you're not in the UH dugout - you're the loudmouth idiot covered in spilled beer and mustard, who sneaked down to a box seat and is yelling epithets at the opposing team, the umps, the home team, and the spectators around him.)

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SImilar law

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Cambridge recently enacted a similar law. I own a place there that I rent and recently got a notice saying that if I want to rent for less than xx days at a time (I forget how many) I need to register the property. I only rent long term, so not an issue for me. Seems pretty sensible. Cambridge is a really well managed city. Its because they have town manager government where the city counsel has all the power and they hire a person to just manage the city's business, logistics, etc. Less hackery and show boating.

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Also a very rich city

It's probably easier to run a city when you run it so by and large poor people who need more support wind up living elsewhere like say, Boston or Lowell.

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I think the comparison to

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I think the comparison to boarding houses is apt, and an excellent reason why Boston City Councilors would do well to learn a little more about the demographics of AirBnb's user base before trying to get rid of it, especially since many of these "investor owned" units are likely to be smaller, simpler, and therefore cheaper than individually owned units.

From an article in the Cambridge Chronicle:

The ordinance allows homeowners to rent out space in their units for less than 30 days at a time. However, the owner of the unit being rented must either live in that unit or must live in the same building; . If they are renting a unit they don’t live in, they must own the entire building, meaning people who own condominium units in larger buildings cannot rent their units with Airbnb or similar services.

It seems to me that what you'd want is a ban on NON-investor owned units, since those units tend to come from existing, older, more affordable housing stock, while the investor owned units may well be in whole buildings that are purpose-built to house AirBnb clients, and therefore are not displacing any existing housing.

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whole buildings that are

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whole buildings that are purpose-built to house AirBnb clients

That describes a type of hotel. If a structure is built to be a hotel, then it oughta be zoned and taxed like a hotel.

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No, we need a ban on all non-owner-occupied AirBnb

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That's all units being taken off the rental market, driving people who used to live here out of the city, just to benefit investors.

Now kindly back off, before we outlaw AirBnb of any kind.

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Please....

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For the last week in August there are 308 TOTAL HOMES/apartments available for rental in Boston on AirBnB. At that point why don't we turn all hotels into long term rentals - there housing crisis solved. Lining the pockets of politicians through hotel lobbyists is what this is about.

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Let's all hold our comments

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Let's all hold our comments until that "Roxbury_Resident_BHA" guy who owns 2 rental properties can weigh in. After all, he's the only person capable of understanding Boston's short-term rental market.

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Also, for the 50th (expletive) time

If residential units become AirBnb units, then we'll have a bunch of empty hotel rooms that hoteliers will need to make money from somehow.

Seems like the easier enforcement is for government to set hotel rates to be competitive with AirBnb.* Gee, they have no problems doing that with medallion cab fares and auto insurance.

*I don't actually want this

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