New city law to regulate short-term rentals

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The Cambridge City Council recently adopted a short-term rental ordinance, which goes in effect on April 1 and regulates the rental of property for transient housing for stays up to 30 days.

Cambridge residents who meet eligibility requirements and wish to use their residential property for short-term rental must register with the city’s Inspectional Services Department by April 1.

Platforms such Airbnb, Home Away and others have made the short-term rental of bedrooms or whole dwelling units a popular travel accommodation option, particularly in urban areas where hotel prices can be very high.

Research shows that Cambridge has hundreds of short-term rental units available. Just like other types of lodging houses and hotels, short-term rentals will also be required to comply with building code, life safety regulations and health and hygiene standards. In order to qualify for a short-term rental certificate, the respective dwelling unit or bedroom must also be inspected by a city inspector. Additionally, the operator of a short-term rental must live in or adjacent to the unit, as described in the new ordinance.

The city’s Inspectional Services will host informal drop-in sessions where residents can ask questions about the new ordinance, eligibility requirements, the process of obtaining a Certificate of Registration or check on the specific conditions of their dwelling unit.

Rebecca Rutenberg