Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, learn what is required to meet all housing inspection requirements.
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What are the required minimum and maximum temperatures for Hot Water?
110 Fahrenheit minimum, 130 Fahrenheit maximum.
What are the required minimum and maximum temperatures for heating a habitable room?
68 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime (7:00 AM until 11:00 PM), 64 degrees Fahrenheit at night (11:01 PM until 6:59 AM)
Are heating facilities required in every room?
NO, as long as the minimum heating requirements are met in each habitable room.
Are screens required on all windows and doors?
Screens are only required on windows on the fourth floor and down.
In a two-family dwelling, who is responsible for providing trash receptacles and placing them at curbside for pickup?
The occupants are responsible, in single and two-family dwellings.
What are my landlord's responsibilities regarding our septic system?
The Housing Inspection Division enforces 310 CMR 15.000 “Title 5” which regulates siting, construction, upgrading and expansion of all (not just residential) on-site sewage disposal systems. We investigate complaints of failure, and oversee new, upgrading and abandonment of septic systems.
Report Sewage or Septic Back-Up
If you are the owner of a property that has an on-site sewage disposal systems the Housing Division staff will work with your licensed Soil Evaluator/engineer to arrange the soil testing, plan review and installation inspections.
The division also retains the state required Title 5 System Inspections for property transfers and routine maintenance pumping records.
What happens when a landlord rents a unit to 3 occupants, and after moving in more occupants are added?
If the tenant violates a written or verbal rental agreement, the landlord may formally address the problem with a notice to quit.
Can a landlord prevent a tenant from damaging their apartment?
Yes and no. Vandalism is a crime and can be reported to the police. However, in most cases a landlord may be unaware of damage to the apartment. Landlords can protect themselves through the following methods: pre-rental inspections, security deposits, proper screening, and documentary evidence.
Can a property owner file a complaint against her/his tenant(s)?
Yes. Tenants may be cited for: not allowing access for repairs, trash, insect/rodent infestation, apartment maintenance, and respecting structural elements.
Do tenants have to call their landlord before calling ISD?
No, but ISD urges tenants to call their landlords to give them an opportunity to make repairs.
Does a landlord have to schedule an appointment with a tenant in order to make non-emergency repairs?
Yes. Landlords must give "reasonable notice" before entering to make non-emergency repairs. Reasonable notice is at least 24 hours. Written notice is strongly recommended.
Does a tenant need to have access to the basement?
Yes! Tenants need access if there are electrical over-current devices (circuit breakers), utility meters, or oil tanks in the basement. Access does not always mean that a key must be provided.
Who is responsible for the removal of snow/ice in all common walkways within a 24-hour time period?
The Property Owner.
If a landlord is not aware of all the regulations related to residential housing, do they still have to comply?
Yes! You can not plead ignorance of the law.
Cross-metering of Gas or Electricity
What is cross-metering?
The Housing Code (State Sanitary Code 105 CMR 410) section 254 and 354 requires that when tenants pay for electricity or gas, that gas or electricity must only serve that tenant's apartment. Tenants should not be required to pay for electricity or gas that supplies other apartments or the common area. However, tenants can agree in writing to pay for common area lights, provided that the other occupants are notified. Violations of these requirements are referred to as "cross-metering."
Who determines if cross-metering exists?
A housing inspector must determine if cross-metering exists. Inspectors try to identify items improperly connected to your meter and will document their findings in a written citation to the property owner. A copy of that citation is mailed to tenants seven days after the inspection.
Who informs the utility company of the cross-metering?
A tenant customer, within 60 days of receipt of a Sanitary Code citation pursuant to 105 CMR 410.354 and/or 105 CMR 410.254, shall provide the utility company with a copy of the citation and shall inform the utility company of the name and current address of the property owner subject to the citation. A tenant's failure to do this will bar them from obtaining a refund.