Man accused of listing affordable-housing unit on Airbnb

(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) (Carl Court/Getty Images)

BOSTON — A man in South Boston has been listing the affordable-housing unit where he lives on the short-term rental website Airbnb.

The apartment, located inside South Boston’s Mary Ellen McCormack Public Housing Development, is listed on the site for $36 per night, promising an authentic urban living situation. Based on his posting, the city believes the man is named James.

According to city leaders, the man’s apparent side business may end up getting him evicted.

City Councilor Michelle Wu said this case appears to be a clear lease violation, as tenants aren’t supposed to have unreported income nor are they allowed to sublet their units.

Wu – an outspoken critic of Airbnb – said this is another example of why short-term rentals need to be regulated citywide. She added that this kind of abuse just adds more pressure to an already strained housing market.

“Any unreported income is taking an opportunity away from someone else,” said City Councilor Wu.

Jennifer Lynch, a resident at the apartment complex, said that a few weeks ago she began to notice different people coming and going from another tenant’s unit. After speaking with some of the guests, she said she reported it to management.

“I’m the one who told them it wasn’t his apartment to rent, and they were really shocked and surprised because that’s not what they were led to believe,” said Lynch.

Reviews on the man’s page suggest this may have been happening for months.

“It’s for people who are under-housed or have no home,” said Lynch. “We had people sleeping in the park over here while this guy was renting an apartment that could’ve been used for somebody.”

“If there’s extra bedrooms, that should be going to someone who needs affordable housing,” said Wu. “We only want people to have space they need because there are so many people who also need that.”

WFXT reached out to Boston Housing Authority, but never heard back. They did however tell the Globe that, because of these actions, eviction proceedings against “James” are already underway.

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