What’s Up Airbnb Boston?
Short-term rentals are usually a delight to invest in. They are the lightweights of real estate and are the type of property you can manage with more ease than others. However, that may not be the case with Airbnb Boston. A new Airbnb law has been introduced to Airbnb hosts. Renting out a room on Airbnb has become the next best thing for real estate investors.
With the new Airbnb laws being implemented, you need to be aware of how your Boston Airbnb rentals are affected. Here, we present you with the new Airbnb regulations, along with the existing Airbnb Boston laws.
Existing Airbnb Boston Laws
Although this list is not exhausted, we can give you a pretty good idea of the current Airbnb Boston laws that have been established since 2015. As a real estate investor, it is your duty to get a full understanding of the market you plan to invest in.
That includes an understanding of Boston Airbnb rentals and the regulations that come with choosing to invest in them. Below, you will find a compilation of the current Airbnb Boston laws.
In order to operate an Airbnb, the city of Boston requires you as a business owner to apply and obtain a business certificate every four years. This certificate is distributed to you from the office of the city clerk. Make sure you get this certificate to avoid troubles with the law for renting out a room on Airbnb illegally.
Zoning Code Guidelines
The Boston Zoning Code provides the regulation of uses in specific Boston neighborhoods. Check these guidelines out to determine whether your Airbnb listing might implicate zoning definitions. This could be definitions such as “use,” accessory use,” “dwelling,” “lodging house,” “boarding house,” and “family.” Read up!
The inspectors of Boston require that you register your property if you do not plan to be present at the time of occupancy. This registration is done annually, with an inspection of the property taking place every five years. This is an important one, as it can make or break your Airbnb hosting dreams. Avoid the potential fees or fines and register.
Ah, those sweet taxes. The City of Boston collects a room occupancy tax from you if you are operating with Airbnb or the like. To get details on whether or not the tax applies to your listing, refer to the Massachusetts Room Occupancy Tax Guide. A second tax called the Massachusetts excise tax may also apply, so read up on Section 64G(3) of the state tax code. Be aware, that is all we’re asking. It will save you in the long run.
Airbnb Boston’s New Airbnb Law
Now we get into the good stuff. Now that you have the basic laws down, we can move onto the new Airbnb law that had everyone talking at the start of 2018.
So let’s talk a bit more about this law. Mayor Walsh explained that this new ordinance contributes to their goal of reducing the housing costs. The proposal does this by creating disincentives to take units used for short-term rentals off the market.
This is unfortunate for real estate investors like you because fewer units on the market means no making money in real estate. We know that is not what you want, but we must abide by the regulations to avoid any trouble.
Related: Boston Real Estate Investing
The ordinance categorizes short-term rentals into three types:
- Limited Share Unit: an individual rents out a room or space in their residence
- Home Share Unit: An individual rents out their entire primary residence
- Investor Unit: a non-owner, non-tenant unit that is rented out
That’s right, you are considered to be an investor unit if you decide on renting out a room on Airbnb. Airbnb Boston is a questionable rental market due to this regulation. Depending on the property type, you will be inclined to pay annual fees of $25, $100, and $500 dollars.
We didn’t forget about that 90-day limit that “home share” and “investor” units have to abide by. The logic to work Airbnb Boston around this 90-day limit is to rent out your property for 9 months a year and go full Airbnb in the 3 months of summer. That is normally where the real traffic for Airbnb guests is so you can make the most of it without breaking any rules. “Limited” share units do not fall under this limit.
As the ordinance is applied, it will prohibit the listing of any properties with code violations. This includes building codes, sanitary codes, zoning codes, fire codes, the list goes on. If you have any hopes of being a part of Airbnb Boston, avoid violating any of these codes, as you may lose your ability to rent out your investment property.
A complaint process will be set up in order to report any violations, and fines would be distributed as needed. As we mentioned from before, the Inspectional Services Department will oversee the short-term rentals.
Why is This Ordinance A Part of Airbnb Boston?
Mayor Walsh states that, “Preserving Boston’s affordability is key to keeping our communities stable and ensuring every person and family who wants to live here can afford to do so.”
These new regulations provide the framework to regulate short-term rental units. The ordinance aims to meet the evolving needs of the industry while still protecting occupants. One of the many concerns is to minimize the impact on surrounding neighbors of these units.
To Airbnb Boston, or Not to Airbnb Boston?
The golden question arises, and realistically, there is no right or wrong answer. Not even a straightforward answer at that. Although Mashvisor cannot give you the straight answer, we can give you the straight analytics. We are your tool for the real estate numbers. If you are interested in Airbnb Boston and want to know what occupancy rates, cash on cash return, return on investment, or cap rate you can expect, we are who to go to.
To get access to our real estate investment tools, sign up for a 7-day free trial of Mashvisor today, followed by 15% off for life.
With the simple click of a button, we are ready to give you the analytics you need to make that important decision. Wherever you decide to put your money, we are in one place: the tips of your fingers. Airbnb Boston needs some extra love and care, but it is possible. It all comes down to what you want as a real estate investor, and how you are able to adjust to Airbnb regulations.
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