Representative Aaron Michlewitz has co-sponsored legislation that would put in place state regulations for short-term residential rentals that would empower cities and towns to inspect these units for safety code violations and mandate that short-term renters pay an excise tax, similar to the state’s hotel tax.
The bill makes perfect sense for several reasons, especially now addressing any potential health issues.
In addition, the short-term rental business should be subject to the same taxes and inspections of hotels and other rental units.
We understand that Senator Anthony Petruccelli also supports the bill and will do his part, when the bill makes its way to the Senate.
Short-term rentals are a growing concern in communities across the state, according to Representative Michlewitz whose district includes the North End.
He believes, along with many others, short-term rental units are a result of the innovative economy that has arrived in Massachusetts. The legislature wants to ensure that these units are safe and secure places that operate within the rules and regulations of the hospitality industry.
During the past several months, there has been controversy related to short-term rentals that are unsupervised for both health reasons and tax possibilities.
Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who supports the bill, has been looking into this issue, because he has seen the practice firsthand and believes it needs to be publicly discussed to make the appropriate changes to comply with City Codes.
Residents in the North End, at two public meetings, have brought this issue to the Councilor’s attention. He will sponsor a resolution in the Boston City Council to adopt the bill in Boston.
The bill has been applauded by the President and CEO of the Massachusetts Lodging Association for creating a fair playing field.
These basic requirements including the taxes, fire safety, sanitary conditions and handicap requirements are covered in the legislation, which the Regional Review endorses.
The Review encourages residents to call their legislators to support this bill.