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Boston short-term rental registrations only trickling in

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City has received 150 applications since new rules for the likes of Airbnb took effect January 1

Square apps glowing on a smartphone. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Boston has received only 150 applications for short-term rentals since new regulations took effect January 1 requiring hosts of such properties to register with the city.

Given that there are several thousand short-term rentals in Boston advertised through sites such as HomeAway and Airbnb, the registration pace is woefully lagging what the city needs in terms of further developing its regulations.

Boston advanced those regulations in late 2018 in large part to crack down on what officials and others see as illegal hotels. The rules include that registration requirement as well as fines, including $300 a night for each illegal listing.

A federal lawsuit from Airbnb could be holding up the pace of registration, per WBUR. Airbnb has argued in its suit that requiring online hosts to enforce the city’s rules violates a federal law protecting online platforms from being sued over third-party content. Airbnb also says that the rules infringe on its First Amendment right to free speech.

Meanwhile, statewide rules governing short-term rentals—including requiring hosts to register with a publicly searchable database—go into effect July 1. Stay tuned.