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Short-term rentals could be a new battleground in Cambridge





RE “Short-term rentals may face limits” by Katheleen Conti (Business, March 7): I hope that Cambridge will hold to language that restricts short-term rentals to units in owner-occupied buildings, and that it will create and enforce regulations that prevent turning the city into one in which only landlords and speculators thrive.

The quote from Skip Schloming, executive director of a group that “represents rental property owners in the state,” is illuminating. Schloming said, “Why shouldn’t a building down the street or down the block that you own not be as good a place for an Airbnb? It’s just another way to run your business.”

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Exactly. I live in a residential-zoned neighborhood. I do not want to be surrounded by businesses. The quality of a neighborhood depends on its stability and the people who live in it. People who are here for a few days have no reason to behave well. There is no way to know if people who come and go next door to me belong there or not. In theory, I can call the police about loud parties. In practice, this is not an attractive option.

There is already tremendous economic pressure on the housing stock here. If homeowners find themselves living in a chaotic for-profit area, why wouldn’t they cash out, sell their homes to developers, and move somewhere that is still actually residential?

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“Disruption” seems to be the operating principle now, regardless of the social consequences. It’s time to ask what kind of society we really want. We may have to fight for it.

Elizabeth H. Bohlen

Cambridge



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