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The Boston Globe

Opinion

LAWRENCE HARMON

Act now to counter overcrowded student housing

A 2008 amendment to the Boston zoning code prohibits landlords from renting an apartment or single housing unit to more than four undergraduate students. But short of the signs requiring people to shower before entering a swimming pool, it would be tough to find a rule that has been so widely flouted.

This is serious business, however. A Globe Spotlight series in May exposed the netherworld of undergraduates who cram into poorly maintained apartments. It’s a domain defined by broken locks, inflated rents, rodents, and firetrap attics similar to the one where Binland Lee, a Boston University senior, perished last year in an Allston blaze. And with less than two months remaining before the in-migration of Boston’s college students, competition for these infernal spaces is heating up.

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