By Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina
I have file for a Hearing regarding AirBNB and other online rental sites that are popping up all over our City. This has been an issue and concern that I have had for a while.
I have heard from my constituents that they have concerns about living next to these airbnbs. For them it’s a quality of life and public safety issue, I like most of you, knowing your neighbor is very important to the quality of life of every neighborhood. You want to know your neighbor is, so you can look out of each other.
But for me my Major concern is that these Airbnb’s and other on line Rental Services are taking permanent housing away from neighborhoods and because of that and the tight market that we already experiencing, It is making it more and more difficult for working families to find an housing and for some of them to stay in in our neighborhoods.
Another Major concern that I have is Investors buying up properties and in a lot of cases displacing longtime residents and turning those proprieties to Virtual Hotels.
I know that the Mayor and the Administration is concerned and I think all of us should also be concern…
Just in my District there are 270 entire homes or apartments that are listed as AirBNB and that is not counting the other Virtual Hotels. In Councilor Linehan District I counted 427 and in Beacon Hill alone there are 168.
The average price range is $150-$270 per night. How can a family or a working person compete with that?
Before I was able to help families find an apartment in East Boston, especially those who had section 8 certificates. In the past a lot of absentee Landlords or investors would rent to them because it was guarantee rent. It’s almost impossible now because it’s easier to rent it out as an Airbnbor other on line home sharing because you don’t have to worry about the condition of the unist because presently there is no involvement by the Fire Dept and Inspectional Services. So it’s much easier for these investors
I want to make this clear, I am not against Airbnb and other on line rental sites, I actually think they could be good and I think that the City Council working with the Mayor can make some regulations that will be fair to our residents who live in our Neighborhoods.
I want to assure residents who are owner occupy or rent rooms in their homes that I am fine with that. I know for some of them it helps them with their mortgage or rent. I also think it’s a could be a good thing especially with foreigners who visit our city. I could also be fine if the rental is in a Business district or in a building that has commercial use. Because we would know that there would be some kind of law and order in those properties. I have heard a lot of horror stories from what can happen when there is no supervision at some of these rentals.
I look forward to working with the Admiration and my colleagues to address some of the concerns that I have and what a lot of other cities are facing with these Virtual Hotels.