Mayor Walsh is formally asking the City Council to approve home-share regulations that would limit how often somebody could rent out their apartment or condo and which would require anybody listing their homes or rooms for rentals to pay a fee that would help the city regulate the burgeoning market.
Walsh, taking up the fight once fought by now former City Councilor Sal LaMattina, says the move will help free up apartments for people who actually want to live in tourist-heavy areas such as the North End.
The new regulations put forth in the ordinance aim to capture the growth of Boston's growing home-share industry, while including deterrents to help prevent operators from monopolizing Boston's housing market with short-term rentals. In addition, the regulations provide a standardized framework for regulating these units that both meet the evolving needs of the industry, provide protections for occupants and minimize the impact on surrounding neighbors of these units. ...
Data shows that the availability of short-term rental units has a direct correlation to housing costs. A 2016 study by UMass Boston found a 0.4% increase in rent prices due to increases in AirBNB listings, and a nationwide UCLA student also found a 0.42% increase.
In addition to rent increases, the commercialization of short-term rentals in residential dwellings and residential neighborhoods has the potential to reduce availability of long-term housing for owners and tenants alike, and is contrary to the Administration's goal of adding 53,000 units of housing across a variety of income levels by 2030.
Walsh's proposal, details of which will go to the City Council this week, would create three classes of home-share rentals in Boston: Rooms for rent while the owner is still around, who would have to pay $25 a year; Entire apartments, condos or homes that are rented out by their owners who still mostly live there and who would have to pay $100 a year; and units bought by investors, who would have to pay $500 a year per unit.
To assist with the enforcement of regulations, booking platforms will be required to provide the City with monthly data and information relative to the short-term rental listings that detail the location and occupancy numbers.
The City Council, which meets Wednesday, will assign the proposed regulations to a committee for hearings and study before voting on it.