Airbnb has reportedly removed thousands of listings in the U.S. city Boston from its website after new regulations went into effect. The move comes at a time when the short-term rental listings site is facing tough scrutiny from regulators.
The new regulations in Boston require Airbnb hosts to register their listings with city authorities. The regulations were passed in July 2018 and came into effect on December 1, and are meant to restrict investor units — properties that are meant to be residential but then are primarily used for short-term housing.
Under the new rules, Airbnb hosts are now required to own their properties and live in them for at least 9 months of the year. Hosts are also limited to just one listing each. They also have to register their units with the city every year, and pay an annual licensing fee.
Last month there were around 4,000 Airbnb listings in Boston, but this number has fallen sharply. According to CNBC, the city has received 1,778 applications to register listings, and just 737 of those have been approved. As a result, Airbnb has removed all listings that do not display a license number from city authorities.
Boston isn’t alone in cracking down on short-term listings due to concerns that they’re leading to higher rents. In San Francisco for example, lawmakers in 2018 imposed regulations that cut the number of Airbnb listings in the city by half. New Orleans and Portland, Oregon, have similar regulations to Boston that will take effect on January 1.
“Across the city, rents are growing more and more out of reach,” Boston city councilor Michelle Wu told CNBC. “Through closing the corporate loopholes for de facto hotels in residential neighborhoods while preserving homeowners’ ability to benefit from home-sharing, the regulations are designed to help more Bostonians stay in their homes.”