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LaMattina Proposal Would Fine Unruly Residents and Landlords

Boston City Councilors want a new tool to deal with problem tenants and property owners.

Frustrated with unruly tenants and absentee landlords, Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina proposed fining property owners to hold them accountable.

"This is an ongoing issue affecting the quality of life with loud apartments, roof decks. These are often your professionals and students," said LaMattina at Wednesday's Boston City Council meeting. 

LaMattina said property owners with repeat offenses would be identified to police. He suggested a $100 fine for the first offense; $300 for the second offense – and that the unruly person(s) as well as the landlord would be cited. However, he added that if the property owner proves he or she has worked with the police and local officials, they could have the fine revoked. 

LaMattina said he and District 8 Councilor Mike Ross have sent letters to some landlords in the past about problem properties but had no response from the landlords.

"There are some really good landlords in neighborhoods. In District 1, if it is owner-occupied, you don’t have a lot of these troubles in their houses," said LaMattina. 

"I don’t think this is a tool – this is a last ditch effort with those who refuse to work with police, our offices, and the community to bring things under control," Ross said at the council meeting. "We're talking about a few bad apples. People (who have) registered 15 complaints (against them)."

Ross talked about a recent problem in which students hurled propane tanks off a Mission Hill roof at a police officer working a detail. Ross said the tenants had access to the roof when they should not have been allowed there.

District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan said problem tenants and absentee landlords are more of a problem in the denser Boston neighborhoods like the South End, South Boston and the North End. He knows that Ross deals with continual problems in the Back Bay, Mission Hill and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. Said Linehan, "It's become an issue as more and more people are here. The city is getting younger, therefore it can be a rub on residents."

"This is not to stop social gatherings or having a good time, but to get rid of a gathering that creates a disturbance," said LaMattina.

The order was moved to the Committee on Government Operations for a future hearing to amend the City's current nuisance control laws.

The city already has a "Problem Properties Task Force." But that inter-department effort is focused more on addresses where crimes like prostitution, drug dealing, assaults and murder take place. All of the properties on the list  (as of Sunday) are in Dorchester, Roxbury and Allston.

Mumbles Hater August 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM
What cracks me up about these city councilors is their attempts to create laws and to find ways to apply fees, fines and penalties to the citizenry in order to fill the city coffers. Why don't they do their jobs, the jobs they were elected to do. Make sure city services are supplied. With all the pot holes, street lights that are out, filthy conditions, weeds and overgrowth in city lots, along streets and the rampant crime in certain neighborhoods, few jobs for youths, absolutely horrid city school system turning out functionally illiterate students who have to go thorugh developmental courses to qualify for college work. a corrupt police force, whose union has the city by the balls--why don't they fix those problems!!!??? Let neighbors, the police and the colleges and universities these unruly kids attend deal with noise issues. Manage the city, its services and stop inventing ways to fine, tax, fees and screw the citizenry with your ever clever ways to exact money for a city government filled with BLOAT!
Vincent Caristo August 06, 2012 at 07:25 PM
The quality of life in the city is affected by all the problems you list. Noise from neighbors whether they are students or not is also an issue. The police have tried for ever to help but the only way to reach some people is through their pocket books. So Mr LaMattina is seeking a way to help out those who have been victimized by the selfiish, rude members of our ommunity who think of no one but themselves. For this you have to be so angry at him? I applaud Mr. LaMattina and hope he can get this ordinance passed. If enough of us would support these kinds of efforts instead of attacking those who try to help, perhaps life would be just a bit more pleasant for us all.
TheMaskedTruthsayer August 07, 2012 at 02:54 AM
We've had Govenors,Senators and yes, even a President who have written either no legislature or legislature not worth a damn...why should we expect anything else?

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