Off-Campus Student Housing Under Serious Scrutiny

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has previously expressed his concern with off-campus student housing, but has recently increased the scrutiny with which the city of Boston addresses the issue.

In recent remarks, Walsh was especially critical of “Allston Christmas”—normally the day when most college students move into their apartments and leave unwanted belongings like furniture, appliances and trash on the sidewalk. Walsh recognized the health and safety concerns and decided to be “proactive,” sending out dozens of inspectors to confront the issue.

About 50 inspectors were dispatched throughout Boston to prevent the dumping of trash on the sidewalk and to examine the state of the houses themselves. The Boston Globe reported that over 1,000 citations were issued and serious investigation over the livability of these houses and apartments has begun.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Inspectors were looking for evidence of insects or rodents, fire hazards and other various safety concerns. According to the Globe, “On Linden Street, building inspector Brian Ronan declared a leaning second-floor porch to be “unsafe and dangerous . . . in imminent danger of collapse” and ordered a door to the porch to be covered in plywood and sealed.”

“Our first priority is always any issue related to life safety,” said Kate Norton, Mayor Walsh’s press secretary. Walsh has made it clear that his first concern is the health of Boston’s students and their health. In efforts to maintain safety, landlords have been sent violation notices and fines.

A major issue for Marty Walsh is overcrowding of apartments and houses. Boston zoning laws permit no more than four full-time undergraduate students to share an apartment or house. Due to city negligence and a lack of enforcement, this provision is routinely broken.

Numerous Boston College students live in off-campus apartments in the Brighton or Cleveland Circle area. These students are directly in line with the population that Mayor Walsh is targeting with his recent inspection and crackdown measures. Meanwhile, landlords are under investigation to maintain appropriate levels of safety and health.

With apartments and houses all over Boston demonstrating the need for examination by featuring infestation, exposed or faulty wiring and other fire hazards, more comprehensive searches may be coming throughout the city.

 

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John Paradiso