Loud parties in fraternities and college student apartments in Beacon Hill, Back Bay and the North End have been a quality of life issue for quite some time.
Last Thursday, Ward I City Councilor Sal LaMattina held a hearing at City Hall regarding his new nuisance control ordinance.
The purpose of the ordinance is to address the harm and disturbances caused by unruly gatherings in the city’s neighborhood. LaMattina said this ordinance does not prevent social gatherings nor does it discriminate against students and responsible absentee landlords.
“What we are trying to do is hold irresponsible tenants accountable,” said LaMattina. “If those tenants are allowed to stay and continue to cause problems then we will hold the landlords accountable.”
Under the proposal, penalties may be assessed upon the tenants involved in a complaint for a first violation. For the second and subsequent violations, the persons involved as well as the property owners will also be fined if the second violation occurred within the year and the property owner received sufficient notice of the first violation. The fine imposed for the first violation will be $100 and for the second and subsequent violations will be $300.00.
“The goal of the ordinance is to create an ongoing dialogue between Boston Police, the City Agencies, property owners, tenants and when necessary, educational institutions,” said LaMattina. “We also want to work with landlords and let them know we will assist them in speeding up the eviction process for tenants that seem to be a problem. But if the landlord is unwilling to assist the city then we will have no choice but to fine them as well.”
LaMattina said he has received complaints about loud and unruly parties from across his district, which includes Beacon Hill, the North End, Charlestown and East Boston.
“This is a quality of life issue,” said LaMattina. “In my district most tenants and property owners are very responsible, attend community meetings regularly and have become vital community partners assisting the city in combating everything from crime to litter. However, it is a small minority of tenants, landlords and absentee landlords that have made life very difficult for residents in several Boston neighborhoods.”
LaMattina went on to say that he hopes his ordinance is the first step in helping improve residents’ peace of mind who may live next to what LaMattina or city officials deem a ‘problem property’.
“The city has developed the Problem Property Task Force and neighborhood groups have implemented similar efforts in my district,” said LaMattina. “What I have seen is that it may only be 5-6 landlords that own several properties in a particular neighborhood but do not keep a watchful eye on the properties they own and the tenants they rent to. That’s what this ordinance aims to addresses. There will be no more opportunity for landlords to play dumb. If there’s a problem tenant or tenants in a property, the landlord is going to know.”