Boston Mayor Withdraws Proposal to Regulate Airbnbs

Boston's mayor is reportedly pulling back his plan to govern short-term rentals such as Airbnb.

State House News Service reports Mayor Marty Walsh told city councilors of his intention to withdraw is proposal and resubmit a new one in order "to produce the most effective policy" in a letter on Wednesday.

The previous plan proposed having three tiers for rentals, including one for a space in a residence while the primary owner or renter is there, another one for when the entire residence is rented out while the owner or tenant isn't in residence and another one that isn't occupied by an owner or a tenant.

The plan would have also required hosts to pay an annual rental fee.

The delay comes as state House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would result in the creation of a registry for short-term rental owners and addresses. The bill would also tax rentals by 4 to 8 percent, depending on how many units an owner offered.

"Home sharing is an economic lifeline for so many Boston families, and we look forward to working with the mayor and the council on a solution that protects economic opportunity and quality of life," an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement.

Boston Host Alliance said it looks forward to working with Walsh's administration on the new proposal.

"We support an ordinance with no cap on rental nights and that recognizes the small business owners who rely on the short term rental industry in Boston," it said in a statement.

The Massachusetts Lodging Association, which represents the hotel industry and is a critic of short-term rentals, said in a statement that Walsh and the city of Boston have the "responsibility to rein in Airbnb investors who are converting scarce housing into illegal hotels," and said it hoped the delay would result in tougher regulations.

"Surely, if other large cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco have figured this out, Boston can," the association said.

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