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Boston City Council Expected To Vote Wednesday On Airbnb Regulation


The contentious monthslong war of words between Airbnb and Boston City Hall is poised to come to a head Wednesday, as the Boston City Council could finally vote on proposed regulations for the short-term rental industry. 

Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who chairs the committee considering a bill to regulate short-term rentals, indicated he will push for a vote Wednesday on Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s proposal that would ban investor-owned apartments from being rented out on home-sharing websites like Airbnb. The Walsh administration estimates the move will free up 2,000 apartments for long-term leases in Boston’s notoriously tight housing market, the Boston Globe reports

The city council has been divided on just how far Walsh’s regulations should go. Flaherty has proposed amending the mayor’s plan to allow the owners of two-family homes and triple-decker homes to be able to rent out spare units throughout the year instead of the proposed 120-day limit. 

Representatives of districts closer to the city’s core have generally supported the measure, as they complain Airbnb has displaced residents from being able to access year-round housing. Councilors representing neighborhoods farther from downtown argued against the bill last month, saying it was taking away a viable revenue stream for residents looking to make ends meet. 

Councilor Michelle Wu, who was the subject of an angry Airbnb mass email to Boston hosts earlier this year that is seen as the reason City Hall is pushing for more stringent regulation, indicated she supports the measure apart from a few changes she might propose during Wednesday’s hearing.