Last week the city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) announced it is pushing back the deadline for Charlestown landlords to register their rental properties. Under the city’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance, landlords had until August 1 to register their properties but that deadline has been pushed back to August 31.
The new ordinance that aims to make the rental housing market in Charlestown safer, cleaner and healthier by conducting regular inspections of rental apartments every five years.
ISD will still begin inspecting rental units on January 1, 2014.
Over the next five years, every unit covered under the ordinance will receive an approved inspection or be covered by an ISD-approved alternative compliance plan. The city will tackle inspections of units owned by landlords with a history of non-compliance in the first year.
Over the past year inspectors have been attending community meetings and talking about how landlords can register their apartments and providing them with an outline of the process, fees and a checklist of what ISD will be looking for during an inspection.
Inspectors said the measure does not seek to punish responsible landlords and alternative compliance methods for owners with a good history of rental housing ownership will be available by the city.
The ordinance will also create a fair and predictable five-year inspection cycle that prioritizes “problem properties”.
Small property owners with inspection exemptions will be regularly provided. There will be educational and self-help tools to ensure code compliance made available by ISD.
The ordinance also establishes a publicly available “Chronic Offender Registry” for landlords who regularly fail to correct problems. Those on the Chronic Offender Registry are subject to fines of $300 and other enforcement measures.
On the other hand, property owners here who demonstrate that their units exceed standards, provide an acceptable management plan and have a good history of compliance will be granted the ability to request an alternative compliance plan.
Also, owners of newly-acquired housing units will be able to request a grace period for compliance, provided they submit an acceptable compliance plan.