AirbnbWatch Massachusetts

HOUSE OF HORRORS

“A horrible evening.” “Atrocious.”

Boston Globe: Wellesley residents complain about Airbnb home used for wild party

Appleton Street fire prompts scrutiny of AirBnb

“A fire ripped through a 3-family house on Appleton St. in late January, prompting people to jump from 2nd floor windows to safety.”

Several People Jump From Second Floor To Escape Somerville House Fire

“Several people were forced to jump out windows to escape a burning home in Somerville early Friday morning. …A resident told WBZ part of the house was being used as an Airbnb…”

Lynnfield eyes short-term rental ban

“Lynnfield town officials are looking to ban short-term rental companies such as Airbnb and 
HomeAway after a 33-year-old man was shot and killed earlier this year at a sprawling mansion that a homeowner says he agreed to rent out for a college 
reunion.”

In Cambridge, An Airbnb Backlash

‘“There are no regulations about buildings like this,’ Ryan says. ‘That means we don’t know who’s coming and going. Safety is important to us: we’ve got tons of children here, and we want to know who’s around.”’

Discrimination by Airbnb hosts is widespread, report says

“A paper by three Harvard researchers found “widespread discrimination” by hosts against people with black-sounding names seeking rentals.”

Study: How new Airbnb nondiscrimination policy may be worse

Researchers studying Boston, Chicago and Seattle “found requests from guests with African American names—based on name frequency data published by the U.S. Census Bureau— were 19 percent less likely to be accepted than those with Caucasian names.”

Airbnb leaving no room for rentals

“Investors are snapping up prime Boston property to rent on a daily basis as ‘virtual hotels’ through web-based services like Airbnb, a Herald review found — and city officials say they are taking desperately needed housing stock off the market.”

“Bed bugs. No air conditioning,” I-Team Investigates

“This business model is booming, but the I-Team found there are growing pains. Ben Hoffman of Brighton was looking for a reprieve from last winter’s harsh weather when he and a friend booked a four day trip to Miami. They thought they found a good deal on an apartment through Airbnb. But their expectations were quickly dashed. ‘We were basically staying in what equated to a prison cell,’ explained Hoffman. ‘Bed bugs. No air conditioning.'”

 

IN THE NEWS

Boston Business Journal: Cambridge Moves To Restrict Short-Term Rentals

Boston Globe Editorial: State should tax Airbnb, but let cities make rules

Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung: Don’t Just Tax Aibnb Rentals – Regulate Them, Too

But just as important as leveling the playing field for hotel and motel owners — and raising revenue for the state — is developing regulations to ensure guest safety. It’s this piece of the equation that State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, who is sponsoring the House’s legislation on short-term rentals, is pushing for.”

Berkshire Eagle Editorial: Seeking Fairness in Era of Airbnb

New York Times: Airbnb Hosts More Likely to Reject the Disabled, a Study Finds

New Rutgers University study shows travelers with disabilities more likely to be rejected lodging on Airbnb.

Hotel study claims Aibnb becoming platform for businesses

‘“They’re taking a more commercial approach to renting out units,’ said Jamie Lane, senior economist for CBRE Hotels Americas Research, which conducted the study.”

Newton eyes whether to regulate and tax Airbnb

“A mix of rising taxes and housing values is making it difficult for some residents to afford to remain in Newton, a city housing study has found.”

Trust, but verify, Airbnb’s claims on taxation, regs

“Hopefully Airbnb’s actions in the Commonwealth will more closely align with their rhetoric. The lesson to be learned from those that have relied on their assurances in the past is trust, but verify.”

AirBNB taxes, regulation in new House bill

“Short-term rentals such as Airbnb units would be regulated more like hotels, taxed and subject to inspections, insurance requirements, and registration with the state, under legislation due for introduction Monday by a House leader.”

Video: Councilor LaMattina Discusses Regulation of AirBnb and Short-Term Rentals

“LaMattina said his goal is to limit investor properties that use AirBnb as a primary income source. The Councilor supports short term rentals in owner occupied units. His goal is to avoid absentee landlords from taking away housing stock and disrupting neighbors through the use of short-term rentals.”

Councilor LaMattina Talks Airbnb at JPNA Meeting

“Longtime Webster Street resident John McCarthy lives next to a property being used as an Airbnb. While he does not begrudge anyone from making a little extra money on the side, he feels there should be some sort of regulation.”

Bringing Airbnb on to a ‘level’ playing field

“Based on her conversations with local lodging entrepreneurs, Klefos said two main issues have emerged: the fact that the room occupancy tax doesn’t apply to people who utilize services like Airbnb for short-term rentals, and the lack of local enforcement regarding housing issues like fire codes and occupancy limits.”

Airbnb rentals trigger debate over housing stock

‘“When units are being used as virtual hotels, it hurts the housing stock,’ said Aaron Michlewitz, a state representative from Boston who has proposed new regulations. ‘It’s not the only reason, but it’s certainly one of the spokes on the wheel of the housing crisis we have here.’”

 

STUDIES

CBRE: Hosts With Multiple Units – A Key Driver Of Airbnb Growth

“Our report provides a clear picture of how Airbnb is expanding primarily by growth of multi-unit operators and how they are a key component of Airbnb’s base of hosts.”

 Discrimination with Incomplete Information in the Sharing Economy: Field Evidence from Airbnb

“We find that requests from guests with distinctively African American names are 19 percentage points less likely to be accepted than those with distinctively White names.”

From Air Mattresses to Unregulated Business: AN ANALYSIS OF THE OTHER SIDE OF AIRBNB

“Two overlapping groups of operators, multiple-unit operators and full-time operators, are a growing percentage of total Airbnb hosts and generate a very significant share of the company’s revenue in major U.S. cities.”

 

FACT SHEETS
The Impact of Commercial Landlords Using Airbnb in the Boston Region

 

SIGN UP, STAY INFORMED AND HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

State lawmakers need to hear from you as they debate short-term rental regulations. Tell your elected officials we’re counting on them to protect property values and to close the “illegal hotel loophole.” Airbnb has the right to exist, but illegal hotel operators should have to play by the same rules as Massachusettes' hoteliers.

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