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Councillor Yancey Questions Boston Rental Inspection Registration

Charles Yancey

Charles Yancey

 

CITY OF BOSTON IN CITY COUNCIL

IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSANDANDTHIRTEEN

           Order of Councilor Charles Yancey

 

ORDERED:   That under the provisions of section 1.17F of Chapter 376 of the Acts of 1951, as amended, and any other applicable provision of law, His Honor, the Mayor, be, and hereby is, requested to obtain and deliver to the City Council, within one week of the receipt hereof, the following information:

 

Re-Inspection Ordinance CBC 9-1.3

Section A

  1.  What is the exact definition of a rental unit and what is the difference, if any, between a rental unit and a bedroom? Ex: Is the exemption meant for a home with six or fewer bedrooms or six or fewer floors?
  2. What is the definition of rental space?
    1. EX: Two-family home where the owner occupies the first floor and the second floor is not being utilized for rental purposes? Is the second floor considered rental space?
  3. Does every private homeowner have to register?
    1. EX: An owner occupied one family home with rooms that are not being rented.
  4. The definition of Rental Unit varies between Ordinance 9-1.3 and 9-1.4. Is there significance to this in terms of who is excluded to the inspections?

Section B

  1.  How are homeowners who do not live in Massachusetts being notified of this ordinance?
  2. Is the year 2013 only a registration year, or must owners have their units inspected in 2013 as well?
  3. Must the durable signs with the owners full contact information be completed by Aug 1, 2013?Section C
  1.  Are condominiums within the same building that is owned by individual homeowners exempt?
  2. According to the Re-Inspection Ordinance, “All non-exempt rental units must be inspected at least every five (5) years”. Does this mean that those who are exempt are not expected to be inspected every five (5) years and can be inspected at different time intervals? If so what are these intervals?
  3. What is the purpose of the 5 year alternative compliance plan if “All non-exempt rental units must be inspected at least once every five years”?
  4. If an owner uses a non-ISD Authorized inspector, are they required to be inspected annually or every five years?

 

Section D

  1.   “An authorized Inspector shall be prohibited from charging more than 133% of the fee charged by the City of Boston for an inspection performed under these sections” Why are authorized inspectors allowed to charge more than the City of Boston? How was 133% determined and what is the significance of that specific amount?
  2.  Are there enough ISD housing inspectors to complete these inspections within the period in which owners are responsible for having these inspections completed?

 

Section E

  1.  If the new inspection timeline is every five years, what is the difference between the normal inspection process and the “5 Year Alternative Compliance Plan”
  2. ”An owner of a unit or units” implies you must pay for inspection if you only have one unit which appears to contradict being exempt if you own 6 or fewer units.
  3. What are the benefits of the 5 year alternative plan?
  4. Is it correct that there is a $50 fee for the first unit and $10 for each additional unit?
  5. Will an owner have to apply every five years or just once?
  6. Is there an appeal process?

 

Section F

  1.  If a homeowner is taken off the problem properties list will they still have to request an annual inspection and is this in addition to an inspection every five years?

 

Section G

  1.  If this ordinance is written to help identify problem properties, how will identifying “chronic offenders” of registration guidelines and specific fines aid this search?
  2. Is the $300 fee given per point or per month of being out of compliance?
  3. You have 14 days to contest being a chronic offender, will any exceptions be made?
  4. Currently you are only able to register for this Ordinance online. Why are there no paper applications available? Is there a document within City Hall with which people can register or are registration forms only available online? When registration documents do become available, will they only be available at City Hall, or will they be distributed into the various districts and communities?
  5. Is there an open registration every year or a closed registration period under which people have to register within a certain time frame?
  6. If an owner does not register for six consecutive months does this mean they will accrue six points and be considered a chronic offender?
  7. Based on the scenario above, please explain how often the person who has not registered in six months and who may have accrued six points will be fined $300.

 

Section H

  1.  Is there a special filing fee that will affect owners that do not use ISD housing inspectors?
  2. Is the following a typo and if not please explain what it means: “fifteen five dollars ($15.00)”
  3. Please explain the following section: By ISD: $50 per unit for 1-3 units and $75 per unit for “all other buildings, including condominium units”

 

Section K

  1.  This section advises “failure to comply with any provisions of this ordinance shall be punishable by a fine as set out in Section R”. Section R states this ordinance will be enacted 120 days after its passing. Please clarify what fine is supposed to be outlined in Section R.

 

Section S

  1.  Is this $300 per month fee associated with the $300 per point fine that is assigned under the Chronic Offenders Point System? Or is it a different set of penalties? If so, is it a flat $300 fee for every infraction?

 

Others

  1.  In terms of Authorized Inspectors, under what guidelines will non-ISD inspectors be certified, trained, and held accountable? Will Boston City guidelines or Massachusetts State guidelines be utilized?

 

 

Filed in Council:            July 31, 2013

 

 

 

 

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