Before you get started
We inspect rental properties at least once every five years in the City. When your property is selected for inspection, you'll receive a notice in the mail with information about how to meet the inspection requirement.
If you have an excellent history of property management and compliance with City and State codes, you may apply for a "Five-Year Plan."
If you choose to apply for the five-year plan, it applies to the entire property. You cannot, for example, apply for the five-year plan for some units and submit Boston Housing Authority (BHA) inspection reports for others.
You must be current with all your licenses and certificates through our department. Some examples are:
- a fire escape certificate if any building on the property has an external fire escape
- a facade certificate if your building is seven stories or taller, and
- your site cleanliness license if the property uses a dumpster or other bulk refuse container for trash removal.
If your property requires these licenses and certificates and you don't have them, please apply for them immediately. Without them, the property is in violation of City ordinances and subject to fines.Please note
Check with the Building Department to ensure that the number of units in your building matches the legal occupancy. We will deny any property that exceeds its legal occupancy from the five-year plan. This is the case even if the additional units were added by a previous owner.
You must clear up any outstanding code enforcement tickets before submitting your application. This includes tickets written against the property on the application or on any other property you own. You can reach Code Enforcement at 617-635-4896 if you have questions.
Get your application together
To apply for the five-year plan, you need to send us the following documents:
- your completed application form
- a list of all the rental properties you own in the City
- a property management plan outlining maintenance and upkeep for the property, and your process for addressing tenant requests and complaints (please use our sample management plan as a guide)
- a notarized affidavit attesting that the owner owes no debt, fine, fee, penalty, or lien to the City related to the property, outstanding for more than 12 months, and
- a notarized affidavit attesting that the property is being used in a manner consistent with its legal occupancy.
If we deny your application, we will send you a letter of denial.
Mail or bring us your application
You can mail or bring your application and documents to:
Inspectional Services, Housing Division
1010 Massachusetts Ave. 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Get a site visit and pay your fees
If we approve your application documents, an Inspectional Services inspector will conduct a site visit of the property. They will inspect its general condition and a randomly chosen subset of units. You will receive a letter in the mail with:
- the inspection date
- information about how to prepare for the inspection, and
- tenant consent forms.
The tenant in each unit selected for inspection needs to sign a consent form before we visit the property.Please note
You have to be there on the day of the inspection. If you're not there, we will fail your inspection.
We can drop you from the plan if you:
- get a violation and don't correct it in the time you’re given
- misrepresent the condition of a unit or fail to maintain a unit with due care
- misrepresent information on any of the documents you sent with your application
- fail to act in a fair way with good faith when you rent your units, or
- fail to register your rental property each year by the July 1 deadline.
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