City Council passes tough rules that limit Airbnb rentals

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The City Council passed new rules on Wednesday that promise to sharply rein in the booming short-term rental industry in Boston.

Members voted 11-2 for a bill, initially filed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, that will ban renters and investors from renting apartments by the night, hotel-style, on popular websites like Airbnb. Homeowners and people who own and live in two- and three-family buildings would still be able to host short-term rentals, with some restrictions.

Walsh and supporters on the City Council say the measure could help Boston’s tight and pricey rental market. They estimate at least 2,000 apartments — mostly owned by investors and chiefly located in a handful of neighborhoods near downtown — are being used as “de facto hotels’’ and rented full-time to tourists. They hope that putting them back into the general housing market could ease rents for Bostonians.


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