Watertown Wants Residents’ Opinions on AirBNB and Other Short-Term Rentals

Print More

Town officials have started to discuss creating rules about short-term rentals in Watertown, such as AirBNB, and have put up an online survey to get people’s opinions on the issue. 

At a meeting in February, the staff of the Community Development & Planning Department held a meeting about short-term rentals to discuss whether they should be allowed in Watertown and, if so, under what circumstances.

Technically short-term rentals are not allowed under the current Watertown Zoning Ordinance, but it has been going on. By some estimates there are dozens or even hundreds of places available in Watertown on sites like AirBNB, HomeAway or VRBO.

The town has rules for hotels and for renting out rooms in an owner-occupied home, but those do not fit all the types of short-term rentals. Some people rent whole condos or homes, others just a room.  The Planning Board asked the Department Community Development and Planning to come up with an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance covering short-term rentals.

The views at the meeting were mixed, with some residents who didn’t think any short-term rentals should be allowed because it means unfamiliar people in residential areas and people operating a business in an area not zoned for doing so. Others say short-term rentals is a way of getting money for unused bedrooms, and can be more lucrative than regular rental rates.

Proponents of affordable housing argue that having short-term rentals makes the rental market tighter and affordable units more scarce.

Take the short-term rental survey by clicking here: https://www.mapsonline.net/watertownma/forms/standalone.html.php?id=247861561

See the slide presentation from the Short-Term Rental meeting by clicking here: http://www.watertown-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/24261

Town Mulling Over How to Handle Airbnb, Other Short-Term Rentals in Watertown

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *