Airbnb Clashes with City Councilor Over Regulations

Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu says she's open to criticism and feedback on her ideas about home sharing services, but only if it's true.

Airbnb recently sent out an e-mail to thousands of it's users in Boston claiming she wants to bring in unreasonable restrictions on home sharing and is aligned with big hotel interests.

"I was shocked," says Wu.

Especially the part about the 30-day cap on unhosted stays, which means a unit can only be rented out 30 times per year.

"There was never any 30-day cap proposed in any version, of legislation that was discussed."

Airbnb’s platform lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms. We asked the company why it called out Councilor Wu by name. A spokesperson says, "When our members get concerned, we want to make sure they have a voice."

We also asked Airbnb if it wanted to clarify or walk back any part of it’s allegations against Wu. The spokesperson responded by saying, "We’re encouraged to see Councilor Wu does not support a night cap on home sharing, and we look forward to getting back to working collaboratively with the city to put fair regulations in place."

Boston is facing an affordable housing crisis. The mayor's office says it’s trying to find balance without hurting this very profitable industry. Without common sense regulations, Councilor Wu says short term rentals could bring long term problems.

"Any platforms that want to do business in the city of Boston, have to fit with the rules that will require a fair playing field."

Councilor Wu says she is unfazed and is still working with all stakeholders to bring short term rental regulations.

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