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Decision on short-term rental rules put on hold

Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky speaking last month in San Francisco.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky speaking last month in San Francisco.Associated Press

New rules governing short-term rentals in Boston are on hold for at least a few weeks, after the Walsh administration Wednesday withdrew its proposal before the Boston City Council to rein in the booming industry.

In a letter to the council, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he aims to refile legislation “in the coming weeks” that would set new rules capping investor-owned short-term rentals — which housing advocates say are pricing too many long-term renters out of the market — while still allowing homeowners to rent spare rooms and extra apartments through online platforms such as Airbnb.

The delay comes just ahead of a deadline to vote on Walsh’s initial proposal, which was filed in January. At a City Council workshop on the bill Monday, city officials said they need more time to develop technology to enforce the new rules, while City Council members remained split on what they want regulations to accomplish.

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“Members of the City Council and I agree that more time is necessary to ensure that we enact the best and most effective policy regarding short-term rentals in Boston,” Walsh wrote.

Councilor Michelle Wu, who has pushed for more-stringent regulations and on Monday urged quick passage of regulations, said many of the people involved in the talks “share the same goal” of closing “loopholes for de facto hotels.”

“As we hone in on finalizing the details, I’m looking forward to making a collaborative, quick push to get this done,” Wu said.


Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.