Airbnb's Complaint Against the City of Boston for Injunctive Relief

This is a case about a city trying to conscript home-sharing platforms into enforcing regulations on the city’s behalf, in a manner that would thwart both federal and Massachusetts law. The City of Boston has enacted an Ordinance... Read more
This is a case about a city trying to conscript home-sharing platforms into enforcing regulations on the city’s behalf, in a manner that would thwart both federal and Massachusetts law. The City of Boston has enacted an Ordinance limiting short-term residential rentals by hosts. But it goes much further than that. The Ordinance also enlists home-sharing platforms like Airbnb into enforcing those limits under threat of draconian penalties, including $300-per-violation-per-day fines and complete banishment from doing business in Boston. Airbnb believes that home-sharing may be lawfully regulated, and it has worked with dozens of cities to develop the tools they need to do so without violating federal or state law. Boston’s heavy-handed approach, however, crosses several clear legal lines and must be invalidated. Read less
Boston, MA ( Local)
September 28, 2019
Submitted by: Howard Cooper

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Howard Cooper for Airbnb

November 13, 2018

Airbnb brings this action to enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement of Ordinance Allowing Short-Term Residential Rentals in the City of Boston, set forth in Chapter IX of the City of Boston Code. This action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 47 U.S.C. § 230, 18 U.S.C. § 2707, the Court’s equitable powers, and the Declaratory... Read more

November 13, 2018

Airbnb brings this action to enjoin and declare unlawful the enforcement of Ordinance Allowing Short-Term Residential Rentals in the City of Boston, set forth in Chapter IX of the City of Boston Code. This action is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 47 U.S.C. § 230, 18 U.S.C. § 2707, the Court’s equitable powers, and the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201. This action is both an as-applied and a facial challenge against the Ordinance. It is an as-applied challenge because it seeks only to prohibit the City from enforcing certain provisions of the Ordinance against Airbnb; and it is a facial challenge because certain provisions, on their face, violate the law and cannot be enforced against any hosting platform in any set of factual circumstances.

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Martin Walsh

Boston Mayor
September 28, 2019

My goal in regulating short-term rentals has always been to responsibly incorporate the growth of the home-share industry into our work to create affordable housing for all by striking a fair balance between preserving housing and allowing Bostonians to benefit from this new industry. I’m pleased we were able to reach a settlement... Read more

September 28, 2019

My goal in regulating short-term rentals has always been to responsibly incorporate the growth of the home-share industry into our work to create affordable housing for all by striking a fair balance between preserving housing and allowing Bostonians to benefit from this new industry. I’m pleased we were able to reach a settlement with Airbnb, and continue our important work ensuring that Boston remains a home for all residents.

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Leo Sorokin

District Court Judge
September 28, 2019

The parties recognize and agree that it is in their mutual best interest to resolve their differences as set forth below. The parties also recognize and agree that the agreements and releases as set forth below represent the Parties' compromise of disputed matters to avoid the further disruption and expense of the... Read more

September 28, 2019

The parties recognize and agree that it is in their mutual best interest to resolve their differences as set forth below. The parties also recognize and agree that the agreements and releases as set forth below represent the Parties' compromise of disputed matters to avoid the further disruption and expense of the litigation. 

1.04 Airbnb’s Creation of a Registration Tool. Starting on September 1, 2019, Airbnb will change the process by which hosts create listings for properties located in the City f Boston by prompting hosts to register with th eCity by including a link to the City’s website. Airbnb will not permit any new listings to appear on the platform unless the host has input a Properly Formatted Registration Number into the mandatory field on Airbnb’s website or certified to Airbnbn that the listing is for a licensed hotel or motel. ThePRoperly Formatted Registration number entered by the host will be displayed on the listing visible to the public. 

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