Boston Considers New Rental Registration Rule
The City of Boston is considering a new rental registration ordinance. Although an ordinance has not yet been formally introduced, preliminary details provided by the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), indicate the proposed ordinance would require annual registration of all rental units for a $15 fee. Registration would require property owners to provide ownership and agent contact information, as well as listing all rental units owned. All out-of-state owners would be required to retain a local agent for service of process. Non-owner occupied residences would be required to post owner information in the building and owners would agree to comply with the City ordinance which prohibits rentals to five or more unrelated individuals.
The proposed ordinance would require that all rental units be inspected every three years. The City would allow inspections to be conducted by ISD, Boston Leased Housing Inspectors or private inspectors. Landlords in good standing and with acceptable management plans would be granted a “3 year exemption”. ISD would permit owners of newly acquired housing to request a grace period for compliance, provided that they submit a compliance plan that meets ISD approval. The proposed ordinance would establish a chronic offender registry for landlords who fail to meet standards or correct problems.
Under current municipal law, inspections are required when there is a turn over of a rental unit, and landlords in good standing with acceptable management plans may be granted a five year exemption. According to City officials the new proposal is designed to capture more rental units, estimating that less than 2% of rental housing is inspected, with 98% triggered by complaints.
City officials have not indicated when they plan to formalize the proposal or introduce language to the Boston City Council for its consideration. GBREB will continue to closely monitor the issue and advise members as soon as an ordinance is introduced.