This hearing is scheduled for December 12, 2016, 4:00 p.m. at Boston City Hall, in the 5th Floor City Council Chambers. The public is welcome to attend and testify at the hearing.
District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina (North End, East Boston, Charlestown) and District 3 Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) called for a hearing at the City Council regarding new regulations for AirBnb and other home rental websites.
“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 are already experiencing,” said LaMattina at the City Council meeting. “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,” LaMattina continued.
Opposing new AirBnb regulations, Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) urged caution about stopping innovation, and Councilor Bill Linehan (South Boston) pointed out that some of his constituents, particularly seniors who are struggling to make their property tax payments, need this as a revenue source to stay in their homes.
A search on AirBnb.com found about 20 current listings in the North End with rates of $79 up to $315 per night.
Citing 270 current AirBnb listings in his District, LaMattina also addressed the quality of life issues. “I have heard from my constituents that they have concerns about living next to these airbnbs. You want to know your neighbor is, so you can look out of each other.” The matter was sent to the Committee on Housing and Community Development to schedule a hearing.
AirBnb recently announced changes to its home listing site in New York City, responding to new regulations that would limit hosts to one rental listing at a time. NYC previously passed an ordinance in 2010 that prohibit rentals less than 30 days in multiunit buildings if the tenant is not present. New York Gov. Cuomo is now considering a bill that would impose fines up to $7,500 on hosts that violate the law.
December 4, 2016 Update: This post was updated to reflect the hearing date.