Is Boston getting tough on short-term rentals?

It appears so.  A Boston Ordinance is being drafted that would require a registration system for all Boston short-term condo & apartment rentals and to impose other stricter limitations.

The Ordinance would establishes three (3) classes of properties:

1. Home Share Units
2. Limited Share Units
3. Investor Units

From Greater Boston Real Estate Website:

The restrictions imposed on short-term rentals depends on the above classifications. Initially, it should be noted that a “Short-term Rental” is defined as the use of a residential unit “for a tenancy of thirty or fewer consecutive calendar days for a fee.”  As to “Limited Share Units”, there is no restriction on short-term rentals.  “Home Share Units” may be “offered” for short-term rental 365 days per year, but the unit may not be booked for more than ninety (90) days per year.  Finally, “Investor Units” may not be offered for short-term rental more than ninety (90) days per year.

In addition, certain units are prohibited from being used for short-term rentals.  These include so-called “affordable housing” units, units which are designated as “Problem Properties” or “Public Nuisance Properties”, and residential units which have three (3) or more violations of this Ordinance or of municipal ordinances, noise laws, trash disposal, or similar violations within the past six (6) months. Licensed lodging houses, bed and breakfasts, and units leased to non-profits for temporary housing of medical patients and their families are exempt from this Ordinance. Any “Short-term Rentals” that do not comply with the foregoing restrictions would constitute a violation of the Ordinance.

The Massachusetts Lodging Association cheered the proposed ordinance as a protection against illegal hotels. Other advocate groups are hoping this will elevate some pain from the expensive Boston rental housing market, some public officials have grown increasingly concerned about Boston condos being bought up for the sole purpose of being rented out as short term rentals.

Gov. Charlie Baker has proposed legislation to tax short-term rentals based on the number of days in a year the units are rented.

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