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Landlords Hit with Fee to Pay for New Boston Rental Registry

Boston leaders are looking to amend the city's rental ordinances and create a citywide database of all rental units.

Boston is looking to amend current rental ordinances to create a citywide registry of all rental apartments with regulations that mandate inspections every five years for rental properties of six family dwellings or more. 

Mayor Thomas Menino has pushed for the update to the city's rental ordinances, which the Boston City Council has discussed at public hearings and working sessions, and at Wednesday's council meeting.

Important to note is that rental units of six family dwellings or fewer would be exempt from the inspections. But all owners of rental buildings would have to pay a one-time $25 fee, which District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley, and chair of the Committee on Government Operations, would go to funding the program. 

Said O'Malley, "This is a good and very important ordinance to create a registry of all our rental units, something that doesn’t currently exist."

Before the hearing, O'Malley spoke with Patch, and said the registry and inspections "empowers tenants to make sure it’s clean and healthy."

He said the registry would "not just be creating more beaucracy, but a system in place to have the registry, but really having a substantive inspection process." O'Malley said Boston would have to hire five to seven more inspectors to create the program, but the one time fees to register would pay for the program. 

O'Malley said the idea for the rental registry was born out of the Mayor's Office and City Council dealing with problem properties. 

"In Mission Hill, Fenway, and some of the other neighborhoods it's a bigger issue than in West Roxbury and Roslindale. Jamaica Plain does have its Problem Properties (Task Force). This is to deal with absentee landlords. Allston and Brighton would benefit from it," said O'Malley. 

The Boston City Council is expected to take a vote on amending the rental ordinances on Dec. 17, and if passed would go into law.

Mariposa December 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Isn't this a splendid idea? Punish the good guys with fees and bureaucracy and an inflated government! and then the rental industry is all lined up for rent control! Mariposa, Boston
Sara Jacobi December 07, 2012 at 03:06 PM
But what about the bad landlords who have people living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions? Something has to be done to stop them. Maybe this isn't it, but what can else be done?
Mariposa December 07, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Go after the offenders - they already have something in place - if there are so many calls and complaints to ISD or to the police - the landlord is fined! But to organize this whole reigstry is invasive and unnecessary!

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