New Boston regulations force hosts to apply and register their listings with city officials have put a damper on Airbnb’s business. Many listings are used primarily for profit as these are referred to as “investor units”, or residences that may be used primarily for short term housing and profit. This drives up the value of the housing market and forces out long-term residents.
Airbnb plans to IPO in 2020. All listings in Boston that didn’t display a license number had their listings removed. Airbnb previously had 4,000 listings in Boston and have received last than half in applications for registration (1,778). Currently, 737 applications have been approved.
Now, only owned properties may be rented out and owners must live in them for nine months out of the year. An annual licensing fee and registration with the city every year is now mandatory. “Across the city, rents are growing more and more out of reach,” Boston city councilor Michelle Wu said in an emailed statement. “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 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.”
Many cities worldwide have enacted new regulations regarding short term rentals from Airbnb and other rental service providers. Toronto, Jersey City, New Orleans, Portland and Oregon have new regulations that will deter hosts from keeping their listings up on the market in order to prevent abuse and housing inflation.