URGENT: Have you registered? New Inspection Deadline for Property Owners or $300 Fine

If you are a property owner of private rental units, you're facing a $300 fine if you don't comply with Boston's new Rental Inspection Ordinance. In an effort to ensure safe and healthy housing for tenants across Boston’s approximate 162,319 rental units, the City implemented a mandatory rental inspection program – which has a registration deadline of August 1, 2013.

Most notably, Code Ordinance CBC 9-1.3 requires that property owners register units annually, visibly post contact information for tenants, and have inspections at least once every five years. The new changes aim to move the inspection trigger from tenant complaints, which currently account for 98% of inspections, to a proactive and preventive approach by property owners. To motivate property owners to comply with the new inspection program, non-compliance will result in a $300 fine per month and a point on a “Chronic Offender” point system. The ordinance establishes a publicly available “Chronic Offender Registry” that will record landlords who regularly fail to correct problems.

In addition to promoting safety for tenants and the community, the new ordinance provides benefits to property owners as well. These benefits include transparency, information sharing, and communication with the City. The registration database will be online and provide an efficient way to inform Landlords of resources, Fair Housing Laws, and other relevant topics.

What You Need to Know About the Rental Inspection Ordinance

Who the ordinance applies to:

  • Property owners of private rental units

Important Dates:

  • Registration opens May 1st 2013 and ends August 1st 2013
  • Inspection will be conducted on a 5-year cycle beginning January 2014

Property Owner Requirements:

  • Register rental units on an annual basis
  • Provide contact information and the number of units at each address
  • If the owner is outside of Massachusetts, he/she must contract with a Boston based agent
  • Attest to and affirm his/her obligation to comply with this ordinance, the state sanitary code, state building code, Boston Zoning Code, and federal, state and local fair housing regulations
  • Visibly post contact information for tenants
  • Have rental units inspected at least once every five years by: an Inspectional Services Housing Inspector, a Section 8 Inspector or an Inspectional Services Department (ISD) trained and approved private inspector
  • If a new rental unit is acquired, the property owner must file an acceptable plan with ISD that identifies any code violations and provides a plan to bring the newly acquired rental units into compliance with housing standards

Registration Fees:

  • Initial Registration: $25 per rental unit. (Fees are capped at $2500 maximum per building; and $5000 maximum per complex – 2 or more buildings on same parcel)
  • Renewal Registration: $15 per rental unit

Inspection Fees:

  • 1-3 Units: $50 per rental unit
  • 4 or More Units in the Same Building: $75 per rental unit
  • Condominiums: $75 per rental

How to Register:

Fines and Penalties:

  • A fine of $300 per month
  • 1 point in the 'Chronic Offender' point system

More Information Regarding the City of Boston's Rental Inspection Ordinance:

zp8497586rq