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Boston Airbnb showdown could come later rather than sooner

Depends on software

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/

In late January, Mayor Marty Walsh proposed tightening restrictions on short-term rentals in Boston done through room-sharing sites such as Airbnb.

Now, after internal reviews and public vetting, the Walsh administration is pumping the brakes a bit on the proposal.

The City Council could vote as soon as March 21 to implement new regulations such as restricting the length of time homeowners can rent entire condos, apartments, and houses; but Walsh’s team wants such a vote delayed until the city has what it says is needed technology to enforce any new rules.

Specifically, the city wants software that would help it track the thousands of apartments that residents are renting out nightly, per the Globe’s Tim Logan.

But some city councilors want to vote sooner rather than later. They contend that Walsh’s original angle—that Airbnb, etc., constrict an already tight housing market—was the right one and that new regulations are desperately needed to loosen the housing supply.

Further complicating things is an expected legal change at the state level that would require registration for short-term rentals. Stay tuned.