Boston hosts and new Airbnb regulations

The regulations approved by the Boston City Council have put me out of business. I’m a renter, rent a small room, and am supported by my landlord. No renters are allowed on the Airbnb platform even with landlord approval and support.

I’m curious if there are any other Boston hosts here who are also negatively affected in anyway who might want to discuss this. Also, there is a group of hosts in Boston who advocate for short term rentals and if you know how to contact them please let me know.

Here’s a summary of the new regulations that came today in an email from Airbnb:

• Investor units will be prohibited with exception for long term stays and medical exceptions
• Renters are prohibited from using short-term rental platforms even if they receive permission from their landlord
• Boston will create a public-facing registry of short-term rental operators and will require platforms like Airbnb to disclose personal user data of our host community

So sorry to hear! Boston is obviously trying to keep entrepreneurs from LTR-ing units to STR them as a business, cutting rental housing a availability. I hope you and your peers can get a one-unit exception amendment to the new rules.

To clarify, even if you rent a room in a home you occupy and have your landlord’s permission you are not able to list on Airbnb? I understand not allowing rental arbitrage, I don’t understand forcing people to get LTR roommates or move to a cheaper place.

@dpfromva I’m not sure I understand your comment? Keeping long term units to short term units as a business? Thanks for the support though.

We have a bit of a unique situation. I think Airbnb screwed it up for themselves and me. First, they allowed hotel operations to setup in Boston by professional investors. One in my neighborhood had 4 or 5 homes jammed with as many beds as possible. When the parties renting them brought in strippers, on one occassion, it got the neighbors upset. It didn’t help that one of these was across the street from a prominent Boston City Councilor. Then to make matters worse for themselves Airbnb was very aggressive in targeting this city councilor in email blasts. That angered many local politicians including the mayor.

@KKC I don’t know what you mean by rental arbitrage? In my case the recession was a financial difficulty for me. I went to my landlord, who l have an excellent relationship with, about doing Airbnb. My landlord is supportive.

I have more of a classic Airbnb situation. I have a room that is not at all suitable for a roommate. It is only used for someone who arrives with a suitcase or two. No furniture. I am not taking a potential rental off the rental market and my guests bring money into a neighborhood that wouldn’t otherwise get it.

One city councilor said: “This legislation balances the rights of homeowners to earn supplemental income with protections for housing stock under pressure from the investor-owned segment of the short-term rental industry,” Councilor Lydia Edwards wrote in a statement. “By preventing loss of traditional rental units to short-term rentals, the ordinance will supplement citywide efforts to preserve housing units and increase housing stock through new construction.”

My operation does not interfere with any of their stated objectives.

A long term stay is anything of 28 days or more. I don’t know what the “medical exemptions” are. Good question. I assume it is for those who come to Boston for medical reasons at the hospitals.

Another good question. I’m sure they have worked out the details but from my point of view on the ground here in Boston it’s those real estate investors who setup an Airbnb operation in properties that could be rental property.

There’s one investor who owns 4 or 5 properties in my neighborhood who lives in a more well-to-do community, is retired from finance, and spends a lot of time in France. She’s turning these properties into hotels. One of her Airbnb ads offered accommodations for 145.

Rental arbitrage is where you “rent” a place, say an apartment, but you don’t live there at all, ever. You rent it out on Airbnb for more than what you pay and pocket the difference. A landlord might permit this for a variety of reasons but for more obvious reasons it’s usually prohibited by the lease.

It seems like you got stuck in a crack in the law.

@KKC OK, thanks for the definition of arbitrage. Yes, they are trying to eliminate this arbitrage situation and any other type of gaming of the system by investors. That might include investors buying properties and renting to one person who might be a “property manager”.

I did get caught up on the wrong side of this. I’ve contacted my city councilors and none have responded. One is my neighbor who holds a block party every summer and I’ll speak with her then if not sooner. I’m hoping to get some like minded hosts together to raise awareness of this situation. I think there’s a more work to be done on these regulations.

I’m curious as to how they plan to enforce these regulations? I assume they will go on Airbnb, see who’s got listings, compare it to who is registered with the city, and then do something along the lines of enforcement. Well if they keep a database of the properties listed for Boston zip codes why can’t they also track who other qualifications as well?

They got work to do. It’s up to those of us who host in Boston to see to it that it gets done.

Reported as spam @Kristian_Kotov


@Kristian_Kotov Thanks for posting this relative to the unique situation in Boston. I don’t know how this got flagged as spam?

I am trying to deal with these new regulations. I thought my solution was to switch my minimum stay length to 28 night and that works for the City of Boston. Almost all my stays over the past 9 years have been long term. Rarely less than a month. Mostly in the 3 month range. The problem is the state regulations require stays of 90 nights or more to make it long term.

I’m interested in exploring new options. I’ll contact you regarding what your company may offer. My situation is that I’m a renter. Renters are totally excluded under the new regulations. My landlord is a neighbor, knows I rent on Airbnb, and is supportive.

I’m considering using Craig’s List as well as building my own website. Maybe even a network of websites for those in a similar situation.

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He posted in multiple threads trying to drum up business for himself.

That would be perfect for you and for this realtor. This is a host forum not an online ad service.

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It wouldn’t for me and I am a host. I found his post useful.

Several other members of the forum flagged his posts. But you have his info now so what is the problem?

hmmm…not sure why you think there’s a problem? There is none.

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It was flagged as spam and I removed his other post because it was spam. He joined a few minute before then offers his real estate services in the first two posts. Spam.