20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by nrg51
Patch Instagram photo by nrg51

City Council Developing New Rental Registry

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

City Council Developing New Rental Registry City Council Developing New Rental Registry

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 containing more than six family dwellings. 

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 the Wednesday, Dec. 5 council meeting.

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, chair of the Committee on Government Operations, said would go to funding the program. 

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

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

O'Malley said Boston would have to hire five to seven more inspectors to create the program but that the one-time fees to register would pay for the program. 

The idea for the rental registry was born after the Mayor's Office and City Council dealt with several problem properties, O'Malley said.

"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," O'Malley said.

The Boston City Council is expected to take a vote on amending the rental ordinances on Dec. 17.

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