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Massachusetts Airbnb regulations could come in the next few weeks

State lawmakers move unexpectedly toward compromise bill

Square apps glowing on a smartphone. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Massachusetts lawmakers on December 20 passed a suite of regulations for short-term rentals done through sites such as Airbnb. It’s now up to Governor Charlie Baker to sign the regs into law.

The regulations would require all short-term rentals to register with the state and to carry insurance. But only those hosts that offer rentals for several nights at a time would have to pay Massachusetts’ 5.7 percent hotel tax.

The compromise legislation would also allow cities and towns to add an additional 6 percent to the state hotel levy.

As the Boston Globe notes, the legislation has advanced with “breakneck speed” on Beacon Hill, where lawmakers failed over the summer to move through regulations that would have required just about every host to pay the tax, not just those hosting for several nights at least.

While the legislation has moved fast, it’s unclear whether Baker will get on board. As for Airbnb, the company released this statement, urging him to veto the bill:

This bill raises serious concerns for the thousands of Bay Staters who share their home to make a little extra income. In addition to undermining the governor’s effort to shield hosts’ personal information, the bill would impose significant burdens on individual hosts, many of whom rent their homes for just a few weeks a year. What’s worse, just as the Legislature passed a complicated bill at the tail end of regular session in July, it is now once again attempting to get a more complicated bill through in a lame duck session. We urge the governor to veto this latest 11th-hour effort so that the incoming Legislature can take the time necessary to deliberately address all of the issues and achieve common sense home sharing policy that keeps Massachusetts a leader in the new economy.

Stay tuned.