By SCOTT JACKSON
The Quincy City Council on Tuesday approved a 3 percent fee on some short-term rentals booked through companies like Airbnb and VRBO, with a portion of the new revenue dedicated to affordable housing and infrastructure improvements.
Councillors approved adopting the 3 percent community impact fee, allowed under a state law approved in December, in an 8-0 vote Tuesday; Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy was not present for the meeting. Chris Walker, Mayor Thomas Koch’s chief of staff, on Tuesday said Koch would take the measure under advisement.
Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci, who introduced the measure at Tuesday’s meeting, said the state law approved last month includes three key provisions. Those include a registry of all properties whose owners have made them available for short-term rentals, a 5.7 percent state tax and local 6 percent tax, which are both equivalent to the hotel tax, and the optional community impact fee. The law takes effect in July.
Palmucci noted the 3 percent fee would only apply to operators who have two or more properties within Quincy available for short-term rentals.
“This 3 percent community impact fee wouldn’t be assessed on someone who just has an extra bedroom in their home or an in-law suite or something like that that they use – it would be someone who has more than one property, which is typically an investor type,” he said.
“I don’t think this hits anybody where it hurts in terms of John Q. Citizen who is trying to supplement their income by renting out an extra bedroom.”
Palmucci said several hundred properties in Quincy are listed on Airbnb. It is unknown how many of those would be subject to the 3 percent fee at this time.
There have been concerns raised about the impact short-term rentals have on the housing market in Boston and other communities.
“I hope that we’re all well aware of the potential negative impact of short-term rentals such as Airbnb-type properties can have on limiting the number of affordable housing units in the city,” Palmucci said.
The order approved by the council Tuesday sets aside 35 percent of the revenue from the 3 percent for either affordable housing or local infrastructure improvements. Palmucci said the state law allows communities to allocate up to 35 percent of the fees towards those two items.
Ward 5 Councillor Kirsten Hughes welcomed the optional fee.
“I think it’s a great idea…especially when you think about using it for a particular fund,” she said.