Short-term rentals such as AirBnB, HomeAway, and Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) have been a controversial topic in the North End / Waterfront for quite some time. North End / Waterfront neighborhood groups have been increasingly confronted with zoning variances that often support the creation of new units, potentially designed to be for short-term use, such as the case at 32 Charter Street.

State Rep. Michlewitz proposed new regulations on these rentals back in February, but reported at the July Neighborhood Council meeting that these new taxes proved too complicated to make it into the state FY18 budget. State lawmakers will continue the discussion in the next legislative session. City regulators could follow with local rules, debated last December at the Boston City Council.

Tell us what you think about these rentals and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: Web polls are not scientific, representing only those readers who choose to vote.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. So many recently available units near me have become short term rentals instead of new neighbors. – by copps hill cemetery.

  2. While I’m glad to hear there is an effort to impose a certain amount of regulation on short-term rentals; we as a community need to take a look at not only whether or not these rentals should be allowed, but also, how they are insured. Too many insurance policies out there do not cover short term renting. Meaning there is no liability coverage in place when someone sues the homeowner. This gets passed on to the community and leads to problems. There needs to be regulation requiring at least $500,000 of liability coverage. Smart insurance companies are already on top of this, Proper Insurance for example offers 1 million in commercial general liability coverage, and is customized for the short term rental market. Here is a link to the website: https://www.proper.insure/

  3. I might be wrong, but I will make the comment anyway. How many Landords live on the premises of these
    Airbnbs? Absentee Landlords have been a problem one way or another; they look at their properties as
    cash cows & could careless about the other residents. The City is responsible for this, but as long as the
    City makes the money, they could careless as well.

  4. These AirBnBs and other short term rentals have contributed to so much illegal trash being left out. What I have seen, on a daily basis on Sheafe Street, is that when the occupant(s) leaves the unit, they take the trash out, no matter what day, what time of day. This has turned into a huge problem. The AirBnBs on Sheafe Street are 100% absentee landlords. When someone purchases a property for $5.2 million, a $25 illegal trash violation is nothing.
    Maybe the address and the landlords’ names should be posted on Northendwaterfront.com and the Regional Review. Maybe if they get embarrassed, this would change things? Just a suggestion.

    • Kim, you are so correct. There is one property on Sheafe Street that ALWAYS has trash outside illegally. When I walk by there are typically people coming or going with large amounts of luggage. If it is owner occupied and the owner decides to AirBnB in agreement with their HOA, that is understandable and they are responsible for cleaning and trash pick up. The issue as stated is absentee landlords and tenants getting away with illegally AirBnBing apartments which is typically not allowed in leases.

    • You can find out who owners are through the City’s assessor’s office on-line. See the link below.

      https://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/search/

      I’m not sure what good posting the owners names would do. Like what was said above, most don’t live here. You can go on to Air BNB itself and see the details and rental dates on the property that you are interested in. You could try to publish a comment, but it might not fly.

  5. Short term rentals are the enemy of neighborhoods. The more we have the more the North End will become strictly an entertainment district. Landlord’s are turning residential units into commodities, and the type of businesses that will occupy the neighborhood will be for the tourists not the people that live day to day in the neighborhood. I hope the city can get a handle of this before it gets completely out of control.

  6. How many apartments/condos does the North End have? This is an honest question…… I’m not voting one way or another, just trying to get perspective.

  7. The Air BNB issues are ones that I had guessed would come. Since some rent back to back, the trash musst go somewhere before the new tenants arrive. If you have a common laundry, your machines get used more and your water usage goes up. The commercial use of a residential property robs the association by taxing its resources, plus driving up the association’s building policy. More than likely the income is unreported, so the taxes aren’t reported.

    Courts haven’t supported local official when they try to enforce zoning and lack of fire safety. I was told the best bet was for the association to add short term usage limitations to the bylaws. Therefore adopting a rule that rentals for less than 30 days are prohibited.

    Since trash fines are automated now, they should become incremental for repeat offenders. The City can now track easily who offends and how often.

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