When deciding whether to become an Airbnb host, it’s important for you to understand the laws in your city. As a platform and marketplace we do not provide legal advice, but we want to provide some useful links that may help you better understand laws and regulations in Somerville, MA. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. If you have questions, contact the Somerville Licensing Commission or Inspectional Services Department, or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.
- Business Certificate. Massachusetts law requires any individual conducting a business under a name other than their own file a Business Certificate in the city in which they are operating. The cost of filing is $60 and the process can be completed at the City Clerk's Office.
- Zoning Ordinance. The Somerville Zoning Ordinance provides guidance for regulation of uses under both a citywide general code, as well as neighborhood district sub-sections of the code, which provide greater detail tailored to local areas. It is important to examine the definitions in the Zoning Ordinance to determine what category of use a certain activity may fall under. Important definitions include "use," "accessory use," "rental," and "tourist home."
- Tourist Home Licensing. The for-profit sharing of a residential unit for a period of less than fourteen (14) days is classified as a Tourist Home use and is governed by the City’s Zoning Ordinance. Consult with the City of Somerville Licensing Board and Inspectional Services Department to ensure compliance with any requirements.
- Taxes. The City of Somerville and the State of Massachusetts assess room occupancy taxes on any rental of a living or sleeping accommodation for periods of 90 days or less. Massachusetts collects the tax on behalf of the City. More information about the City and State room occupancy taxes is available on the State's FAQ page.
- Other Rules. It's also important to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo board or co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable.
We are committed to working with local officials to help them understand how Airbnb benefits our community. Where needed, we will continue to advocate for changes that will allow regular people to rent out their own homes.
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