Lodging houses, also known as single-room occupancies (SRO) or rooming houses, are located throughout Boston. Historically, the units in these buildings have minimal or no kitchen facilities and tenants usually share bathrooms. By definition, under state law, a lodging house is a dwelling unit where lodgings are rented to four or more unrelated people and in which each occupant has a separate lease and agreement and can be evicted separately, and in which each occupant does not have access to the entire dwelling unit. Lodging houses must be licensed by the City of Boston and must meet certain code requirements. The Inspectional Services Department can provide detailed information on these requirements.
A complete list of licensed lodging houses is available at the Licensing Board in Room 809 of Boston City Hall at a cost of $15.
Tenants in lodging houses traditionally pay their rent on a weekly basis. In the event that a landlord wishes to evict a tenant or raise the rent, Massachusetts Law provides some rules that only apply to lodging houses. These rights of tenancy vary depending on the length of the tenancy:32 For more information, call the BRHC at (617) 635-RENT (4200).
32. G.L. c. 186, §17
G.L. c. 239, §8A, §9