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Boston stands firm on stricter rules for landlords

Boston officials say they will not offer further extensions to the deadline for a new ordinance requiring property owners to register their rental units with the city.

After the deadline on Saturday, the city will start issuing fines of $300 per month to landlords who have not complied.

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Those landlords will also be assessed a one-point penalty in a new “chronic offender” database managed by the city.

During the first month after the deadline, the city plans to target unregistered “problem properties and landlords with histories of code violations and noncompliance,” Brian R. Swett, the city’s chief of environment and energy, wrote in a letter Wednesday to city councilors.

The Globe reported this week that many property owners were chafing under the new ordinance, which along with the registration requirement, mandates more rental-property inspections starting in January.

Landlords have said they are unhappy with the extra cost and time involved with the planned inspections and with registering their units.

They must pay the city a $25 first-time registration fee this year for each unit and a $15 annual renewal fee per unit in subsequent years.

The city plans to target unregistered ‘problem properties and landlords with histories of code violations and noncompliance.’

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As of the start of this week, about 40,000 units had been added to the registry, less than 30 percent of the estimated total.

Swett said the department will continue its outreach
to landlords to inform them about the new rental registration requirement and to help them with the registration process.

City officials have said that registration has picked up in the final days before the deadline.

Swett said the death of a Boston University student this year from a fire in an Allston rental property, which had gone uninspected for years and was later issued fines for code violations, serves as “a clarion reminder as to why it is so important that rental units throughout the city are maintained in safe and healthy condition.”

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.
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