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Boston Mayor Against Unchecked Airbnb Rentals In Owner-Occupied Units

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is departing for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet.

While Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s proposal to reform short-term rental services in the city is largely aimed at investors renting out properties they don’t live in, he still thinks landlords who live in the same building as their units should offer those up as traditional leases instead of on Airbnb

The Boston City Council is considering Walsh’s proposal to crack down on short-term rental providers like Airbnb. His plan calls for hosts to register with the city and pay a fee and bans investor units. It puts a 120-day limit on owner-occupants of two- and three-family buildings who want to rent out unoccupied units. While short-term rental hosts are pushing for a looser compromise to what Walsh is proposing, the mayor argues long-term leases are needed for those units during Boston’s ongoing housing shortage, the Boston Herald reports

“I feel bad for some people but you can pay your mortgage by renting to a family, too,” Walsh said to the Herald. “I can’t worry about that, I’m looking to get rentals on the market.”

The city council is expected to reconvene and vote on the proposed regulations June 6. The negotiation comes amid a war of words between City Hall and Airbnb, which was accused of bullying City Councilor Michelle Wu over her stance on regulating the short-term rental service.

Councilors are pushing for regular reports on the effects of the new regulations, and a veto-proof, nine-councilor supermajority is pushing for owner-occupants to have the ability to rent their homes out year-round. While Walsh claimed he was open to negotiation, he also hinted he was not ruling out a veto.

“I’m going to wait and see. It’s too early to talk about what I’ll veto and what I’ll sign,” he said to the Herald. “It’s going to be a collaborative conversation. I’m not going to enforce my will on this legislation, this has been a cooperative piece of bargaining back and forth.”