City Council adopts stronger effort to deal with ‘problem properties’ across Boston


Boston City Hall. Boston City Council discussed enforcement of “problem properties” that ignore trash disposal and noise regulations. SYDNEY ROTH/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Boston City Council pushed to address “problem properties” across the city. Many college students, who fail to abide by noise complaints and trash disposal regulations, reside in these properties. 

City Councilor Brian Worrell offered an order for a hearing to discuss ways for city officials to deal with these properties.

Currently, a city-wide task force investigates properties across Boston that produce negative effects on a neighborhood’s public health and wellbeing, according to the city of Boston website. These problems range from drug use to trash pile up.

The website tracks building violations, calls to public safety agencies about the property, and “any other City incident reports written about the property over the past 12 months.” 

“This is an opportunity for us to ensure that the city is effectively addressing those who regularly harm the quality of their neighbors,” he said.

The task force’s list currently has four properties which will only be removed once the “owner addresses the outstanding issues,” according to the city’s website. Worrell said the city should look into the process behind adding properties to the list.

Beyond issues with absent landlords in neighborhoods such as Mission Hill and Beacon Hill, there are college students living in properties that are frequent sites of 911 calls.

City Councilor Sharon Durkan said most of these students end up in neighborhoods with problem properties due to a lack of affordable housing options on their respective college campuses in Boston. 

“These properties are frequent offenders of basic quality of life standards,” Durkan said. “Residents in my district are at a tipping point.”

City Councilor Liz Breadon said there is a pattern of repeat offenders in the Allston-Brighton neighborhoods. She added that the Boston College Police Department has cooperated and done “preventative work” to help curb the effects of problem properties. 

City Councilor Edward Flynn said he receives calls from families and seniors who have trouble sleeping at night because of some “nonstop partying.” He said has visited some of these properties to begin “encouraging them to be a better neighbor.”

“It’s not about you, it’s about providing the best community for everybody,” Flynn said.

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One Comment

  1. Mission Hill here. Rats are my biggest concern right now. Close to 50 years at my current home and for the last two years the rats are extremely well fed and running wild in abundance.
    Calling the City departments to report overflowing trash containers ( which on nightly walks are overrun with rats ) results at the most with a ticket on the door. It appears to me there is no follow-up because the situation does not change. Absentee landlords, who might have management companies “handling ” the properties are not held accountable. People (mostly students) who pay the insane amount of rent should demand enough covered trash containers to fit the needs of how many people live in the mostly three decker houses on the Hill. Also the people who live in these houses should be more aware of how the improperly stored or dumped trash is a constant source of attraction for the ever increasing rat population.
    There are other issues in the neighborhood that are being addressed but to me the biggest problem is the rats.
    Make people responsible for their actions please.
    Go Celtics