Property Owners Must Register Their Private Rental Units By July 1 or Face Fines

So far there are 6,601 rental units actively registered in Jamaica Plain and there are definitely more out there that need to be registered with the city by July 1. Failure to register rental properties can result in fees of several hundred dollars.

If landlords don’t register and pay the fee by the July 1 deadline the city may charge a penalty of $300 each month until the landlord registers the rental unit and pays the registration fee. The fees are $25 for each unit for first-time registrations and $15 for each unit for renewal registrations. And if a rental property has never been registered, the rental unit owner is required to pay registration fees back to 2013.

But the good news is that owner-occupied properties with six rental units or less are not required to pay a registration fee, but are still required to register each year.

And for rental property owners who own a lot of units, be it an individual or company — the most they will be charged is $2,500 for each building or $5,000 for each complex owned. But don’t worry, the city’s online system does accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Apparently, American Express is not everywhere you want to be — at least when it comes to registering rental properties in Boston.

Rental unit owners will have to provide information on their units, including whether the property was built before or after 1978, whether there are any external fire escapes attached to the building or buildings, and whether the property has a smoke-free policy with smoking prohibited in all units and common areas.

The purpose of the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance is to “ensure rental units are safe, sanitary and in compliance with the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code,” according to an Inspectional Services Department press release. The rental registration program allows the city’s Inspectional Services Department to “clearly identify landlords and ensure property owners are aware of rental housing regulations.”

Rental property owners can register on-line at www.boston.gov/isd/housing or visit the Housing Division at 1010 Massachusetts Ave., Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm. where staff will be available to assist with the registration process.

For more information regarding the registration process please contact the Inspectional Services Department, Housing Division, at 617-635-1010 or email rentalprogram@boston.gov.