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Airbnb Policies Change in Two States

A person pressing the action button on an Airbnb ad on their arm

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In two Northeastern states, short-term housing regulations changed. In one instance, a judge struck an existing regulation and in another the governor and legislature finally agreed to a bill.

On Dec. 28th Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill that will tax and regulate short-term room rentals, according to MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg.

The Massachusetts Legislature initially passed a different bill taxing short-term rentals in July, but Baker would not sign it. 

“Baker wanted to exempt people who rent out their rooms for less than 14 days a year from some of the registration and insurance requirements,” Schoenberg wrote. “He also wanted to change provisions relating to a public registry and a convention center fee.”

A compromise bill that established a registry of short-term rentals passed in late December. “The new law will apply the 5.7 percent hotel room tax to short term rentals, with an exemption for those who rent out their rooms for 14 days or less,” Schoenberg. “Cities and towns can choose to add an additional 6 percent local excise tax [6.5 percent in Boston] and a 3 percent community impact fee, with an additional 2.75 percent fee levied in Cape Cod.”

Meanwhile, in New York a Manhattan federal judge thwarted New York City’s attempted crackdown on Airbnb with a ruling claiming the city violated the Fourth Amendment.

“Judge Paul Engelmayer issued a preliminary injunction Thursday barring the city from collecting transaction reports from Airbnb and other homesharing platforms,” wrote MarketWatch’s Andrew Keshner. “The ordinance violated Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable user record searches by the government, according to the judge’s 52-page preliminary injunction order.” 

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