Regulation

New Regulations Prompt Airbnb To Yank Boston Listings

Airbnb

Airbnb has removed thousands of listings in Boston in response to new regulations regarding residency in the city, according to a report by CNBC.

The company is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to happen in 2020, and it doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers in terms of its profitability outlook.

The company is facing increased regulation from cities all across the U.S. In Boston, the new regulations are meant to stop the practice of investor units, which are properties that are used specifically for the purpose of short-term rentals.

These types of short-term rentals are detrimental to neighborhoods, regulators say, as they inflate the housing market as a whole and drive out residents who’ve been there for a long time.

In Boston, units must now register with the city. Airbnb previously had about 4,000 listings in the city, which it removed. Boston has received 1,778 applications for registration, and only approved 737.

“Across the city, rents are growing more and more out of reach,” Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu said. “Through closing the corporate loopholes for de facto hotels in residential neighborhoods while preserving homeowners’ ability to benefit from home-sharing, the regulations are designed to help more Bostonians stay in their homes.”

As per the new rules, people who rent out their properties to Airbnb have to live in them for at least nine months out of any given year. Only one listing is allowed per host, and hosts have to register units every year in addition to paying a licensing fee.

The new regulations were passed in July 2018 and became effective in August 2019, after Airbnb mounted a legal challenge to the new regulations. 

“As per our legal settlement, we are prepared to work with the City to take the appropriate action against listings that have not provided a license number, so that they are no longer available as short-term rentals,” said an Airbnb spokesperson. “But it is important to note that this is intended to be long-term, collaborative process.”

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