Wow. So tens of thousands of parents send their children to Boston to be educated at our storied colleges and universities, blessing their decisions to live off-campus. Then some of those kids are preyed upon by unspeakable scofflaw property owners and brokers who lease places that are overcrowded pits at best and deadly firetraps at worst.
The universities, whose crazy-high dorm costs drive students into the arms of the bad actors are unaware of what’s going on, or pretend to be. And the city agency that is supposed to be the last line of defense of these students appears powerless to do anything about it.
Welcome to Boston, kids! You’re on your own!
There are so many people to blame for the grimy economy uncovered by this week’s Globe Spotlight investigation into student housing. But the most infuriating part of the series, from where I sit, is the astonishing failure of the city agency tasked with rooting out the rank and dangerous living conditions to which kids are subjected, allowing landlords like Anwar Faisal to get richer by breaking the rules with impunity.
Bless the Inspectional Services Department. It’s like John Hynes is still mayor over there on Mass Ave. Their technology and staffing levels are straight out of the 1950s. This comes as no surprise to the legions of businesspeople and builders who have attempted to inch their way through this byzantine system over the years. But the mismatch between the department and its task when it comes to the city’s rental properties is a whole other level of scary.
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