Effective January 1, 2019, the City of Boston will only allow short term residential rentals under specific circumstances and with various exceptions. The Boston City Council approved a plan on June 13, 2018, that will prohibit owner-investors from putting unoccupied residential units on Airbnb and other such short term rental websites. The new rules will be enacted beginning January 1, 2019, but existing short-term rental hosts can operate under the old system through August 31, 2019.

The rules in the ordinance establish three classifications for short term rentals summarized as follows:

  1. Limited share units: A private bedroom or shared space that must be within the operator's primary residence.
  2. Home share units: An entire residence offered for short-term rentals where the owner/operator must reside for at least nine months of the year.
  3. Owner-adjacent units: Secondary units in an owner-occupied building that can be listed as a short-term rental for a full year.

Owner-operators would have register with the city each year and could face penalties for not complying with the rules or limitations of the appropriate category.

Exemptions to the regulations would include existing bed and breakfasts, licensed lodging houses, units contracted for health-care purposes and units used for corporate housing stays of at least 10 days.

For more information regarding the specifics of this ordinance, go to www.boston.gov.

Categories: Landlord/Tenant Law