Mayor Inks Short-Term Rental Ordinance

In what came a no surprise, Mayor Martin Walsh signed a city-why ordinance establishing guidelines to better track

Mayor Walsh signs short-term housing ordinance.

and regulate short-term rentals in Boston.

Originally filed by the Mayor, with amendments by the City Council, and conversations with residents, advocates and public private stakeholders, following a two-year careful study by the Walsh Administration the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2019 barring any lawsuit.

On a local note, the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA), in letter form, supported putting some sort of positive control on short-term rentals.

Apparently, the ordinance reflects the shared goal of providing economic opportunities for residents and temporary accommodations for visitors, while preserving Boston’s housing stock.

“My goal in regulating short-term rentals has always been to responsibly incorporate the growth of the home-share industry into our work to create affordable housing for all by striking a fair balance between preserving housing while still allowing Bostonians to benefit from this new industry,” the Mayor said in a press release.

While the regulations allow for the growth of Boston’s home-sharing industry, it includes deterrents to prevent operators from monopolizing the city’s housing market with short-term rentals.

These regulations only apply to property owners registered with the City to operate a short-term rental in their unit, according to the ordinance. Non-owner occupations are not permitted to operate short-term rentals.

The ordinance takes a three-tiered approach to classify short-term rental units:

  • Limited Share Unit: Consists of a private bedroom or shared space in the owner-operator’s primary residence, in which the operator is present during the rental. The fee associated with this classification is $25 per year.
  • Home Share Unit: Consists of a whole unit available for a short-term rental at the primary residence of the owner-operator (unit in which operator resides for at least nine months out of the 12-month period). The fee associated with this classification is $200 per year.
  • Owner-Adjacent Unit: Consists of an owner-occupied two or three family building, in which the owner lists a single secondary unit as a short-term rental. The fee associated with this classification is $200 per year.

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