Boston City Council Letter to Massachusetts House on Short-Term Rentals Proposal

Boston City Council sent a letter regarding short-term rentals to the Massachusetts House last week, asking the House to preserve local control as the council continues to debate legislation.

The House did pass a new tax on short-term rentals on Thursday that leaves decisions about regulations up to towns and cities. This bill would require a short-term rentals registry maintained by the Department of Revenue, and rentals would be taxed 4% – 8% depending on how many units that host offers. Towns and cities would have the option to impose local excise taxes, half of which would have to be dedicated to improving local infrastructure or housing programs.

Representative Michlewitz, who helped write the bill, said it addresses public safety and consumer protection concerns while letting cities and towns make decisions about regulation rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Prior to this, Mayor Walsh rescinded his initial proposal on Wednesday and will likely submit a revised proposal soon. As explained in the Boston Globe, Walsh will aim to refile legislation that will set new rules on investor-owned short-term rentals, while still allowing homeowners to rent spare rooms and extra apartments through platforms such as Airbnb.

The full letter from Boston City Council is posted below.