Rental Registration and Inspection Program Frequently Asked Questions
City of Boston Code Ordinance CBC 9-1.3 requires private rental units to be registered on an annual basis and inspections will be conducted for non-exempt units on a 5-year cycle starting January 2014.
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What are the Rental Registration Requirements?
Property owners of private rental units are required to register rental units on an annual basis. Property owners must provide contact information, the number of units owned at each address registered; and if owner is outside of Massachusetts he/she must contract with a Boston based agent. Owners must also attest and affirm that they will abide by all rules and regulations as it pertains to state and local city regulations
Who is required to register rental units? Do I need to register my units?
All privately owned dwelling units not occupied by the property owner must be registered even if the unit:
is occupied by a relative who is 18 years of age and not on the deed, and
you are not collecting any rent.
Example: Three family house - the property owner does not register the unit they live in but she/he does have to register the other two units. Because the building is owner-occupied and has six or fewer units, all three units are exempt from the inspection section.
How can a property owner register his/her rental unit(s)?
Owners must register with ISD's Housing Division. You may register electronically (www.cityofboston.gov/isd/housing) on the “Rental Inspection Program” page or fill out a paper form and submit via mail or in person at ISD's Office (1010 Massachusetts Ave).
What is the cost of registration?
Initial registration fee is $25 per unit. Fees are capped at $2500 maximum per building; and $5000 maximum per complex (2 or more buildings on same parcel)
What will the cost for registration be after the initial year?
The renewal registration fee will be $15 per unit.
Will there be any fines or penalties assessed for non-compliance of the registration process?
Yes. Non-compliant owners will be subject to a fine of $300 per month and assessed 1 point in the 'Chronic Offender' point system for non-compliance.
Why can't I find my address when registering online?
The City of Boston has some unique designations for some buildings. Try these tips:
Range addresses (i.e. #371-#383): enter only the lower number, even if the unit you are trying to register use another number in the range for its mailing address. Clarify the address in the “Description” box on the second screen.
Prefixes: directional (North, South, etc.): select prefix from the drop-down box prior to “Street Name”
Use “MSGR” for Monsignor
“MT” or “Mount” either spelling is accepted
"Saint” must be spell out (the abbreviation DOES NOT work)
When completing the address portion enter the building number and the name of the street ONLY (do not add “St”, “Rd”,”Dorchester” or zip code).
How do I sign up for an inspection?
Inspections will be conducted once every five years. The Rental Program staff will contact you well in advance, when it is time for your dwelling to be inspected. Instructions will be provided at that time.
I don't understand the 'Terms and Conditions' section, what is it?
You are being asked if you intend to comply with the stated laws/regulations/ordinances (State Building Code, Delivery Standards Ordinance). Please note this should be a YES only answer.
What's a facade certificate? Or a lead paint certificate? Or a fire escape affidavit?
If you don’t know what these documents are, odds are you don’t have one. If you are required to have the certificate mentioned and don’t; ISD will let you know your responsibilities when your unit(s) are inspected.