District 1 city councilor Lydia Edwards on the recently passed short-term rentals regulation


On Wednesday, June 13th, the Boston City Council voted 11-2 to enact legislation regulating short-term rental platforms such as AirBNB. Councilor Edwards joined the council in voting to pass the legislation. The legislation:

  • Allows owner-occupants to list their own unit, a part of their unit or an adjacent whole unit in their building as a short-term rental for 365 days per year
  • Prohibits ownership or operation of short-term rental units by outside investors 
  • Creates a public registry of short-term rentals 
  • Completely exempts lodging houses, bed and breakfasts and certain corporate housing with established contracts with educational, medical or other institutions from regulation as a short-term rental. “Executive suites,” addressed in the zoning code, also function outside of the short-term rental regulation. 
  • While in session, the Council also voted to adopt amendments which would improve data collection and allow investor-owner units a brief grace period to fulfill existing leases as their business model is phased out.

“Thank you to Mayor Walsh and my colleagues for diligent work on the short-term rental ordinance. This legislation balances the rights of homeowners to earn supplemental income with protections for housing stock under pressure from the investor-owned segment of the short-term rental industry,” said Councilor Lydia Edwards. “By preventing loss of traditional rental units to short-term rentals, the ordinance will supplement citywide efforts to preserve housing units and increase housing stock through new construction.”

“The ordinance also enables a fair playing field for a diverse hospitality industry,” added Councilor Edwards. “Visitors to Boston will retain numerous options, including short-term rentals, traditional hotels, lodging houses, bed and breakfasts, executive suites and corporate furnished housing.”

Councilor Edwards is committed to reviewing the success and challenges of implementing the short-term rental ordinance and revisiting the issue as necessary in the future.