Mayor Menino in favor of inspection fees

A proposal by Mayor Thomas Menino to expand housing inspections in the Boston area has been met with great discern by landlords. The plan, which would cost property owners $3.5 million in just the first year of its implementation, is not favorable for landlords and tenants alike.

Due to the fixed nature of available housing in Boston, the costs of regulations would likely be transferred to tenants in the form of higher rent. Harold Brown, the CEO of The Hamilton Company, said “It’s commendable to make sure tenants have a clean, violation-free place to live, but operating such a bureaucracy is unworkable.”

On the other hand, the mayor’s environmental and energy chief Brian Swett said that the inspection will encourage the maintenance of Boston’s apartments. Through registration and inspection, Swett believes that conditions will be improved. The plan would require a one time fee of $25 to register an apartment as well as $15 fee for every subsequent year.

Today, the Inspectional Services Department conducts 20,000 inspections a year. Under this new plan, inspection rates would inflate to nearly 140,000—the number of apartments in the Boston area. As it stands today the inspections are only required when a tenant moves out.

Furthermore, the plan includes the creation of a Chronic Offender Registry, a public record that tracks landlords who have violated code, for people to utilize when searching for an apartment. If utilized, this system would keep landlords publicly responsible for the upkeep of their apartments (Boston Business Journal).