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Councilors vote to pass amended short-term rental ordinance

After months of discussion and several proposed amendments, the City Council voted (11-2) to pass an amended short-term rentals ordinance, proposed by Mayor Walsh.

The legislation, in an effort to regulate the rising short-term rental industry and create solutions for the housing crisis in Boston, will prohibit investors and tenants from renting their homes by the night through websites such as Airbnb. Owner-occupants of two and three family homes will be allowed to continue to do so.

On Wednesday, the Council Chamber was filled with constituents on both sides of the matter, some hoping to better understand the new proposed regulations, others hoping the new rules will open up housing opportunities for tenants who would like to rent through a traditional 12-month lease. The rule requires that hosts of short-term rentals register with the City every year and pay a respective fee based on the type of unit. The data of the registry will be publicly available and will provide information regarding the location of short term rental activity in Boston.

The new rules take effect on January 1, 2019. One of the approved amendments created a "sunset period" to provide more time for those with pre-existing agreements or executed leases, so that there is an opportunity to continue their leases until September 1, 2019.

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