BOSTON - A controversial vote over regulations of short term rentals like AirBnB in Boston has been pushed back to next week.
Boston's City Council was set to vote Wednesday, but deferred the vote for a week and scheduled a public hearing for Monday.
The city council and Mayor Marty Walsh have been trying to find common ground on short-term rental rules. If the new rules pass, they would allow people to rent out rooms, their entire home, or a spare unit in a two or three-family home.
Everyone would be required to register with the City of Boston and the owners would pay varying annual fees.
What it doesn’t allow for are "investor-owned units," which are the source of quite a bit of controversy.
Councilor Michelle Wu has been a big proponent of regulations for short-term rental services.
"We want to support those homeowners who are using AirBnB for people to stay in their homes," She said Wednesday. "It's a very compelling and important case that those vocies are heard. What we are trying to reign in are the corporate loopholes."
Councilor Wu says the neighborhoods most affected are the downtown ones around Government Center, Chinatown and the North End.
"We do know that across the city, there are many, many multi-unit, year-round listings that are essentially acting as de facto hotels," she explained.
If investors want to rent out a property they own but don’t live in it, the proposed rules would require them to get their property categorized for commercial rather than residential use.
"This is a commercial enterpise in a lot of cases," Wu said. "So we're asking folks to seek the appropriate licensing and zoning."
Airbnb has been following the developments and issued a statement saying in part, "We are disappointed the city is pursuing an approach to home sharing rules that violates federal laws, harms middle class Bostonians, and doesn't fully consider input from the thousands of families already using home sharing to pay the bills."
If the proposal passes, all units will need to be registered with the city of Boston and owners would pay different levels of fees associated with that type of rental.
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