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Inspecting housing in Boston

Last updated: 9/7/17

Inspecting housing in Boston

Learn about the Housing Division at Inspectional Services, and what we do for Boston residents.

We enforce state and City housing laws. These laws protect the health and safety of the public. Here’s how we regulate housing quality in Boston.

Still have questions? Contact:
Inspectional Services
1010 Massachusetts Avenue
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
United States

Rental program

Registering rental properties

All rental property owners must register their housing with us. You have to register your rental property every year by July 1. Find out how to register.

Rental inspections

We do random rental inspections at least once every five years. We'll notify you if we choose to inspect your property. Learn more about rental inspections.  

Student housing

We created a report on student housing trends in the City. We're trying to increase opportunities for student housing by 2030. See how we're doing.

Housing codes

We enforce housing codes to protect the health of tenants and the public. You can learn about City housing codes, or read a full list of the state laws.  You have rights as well as rules to follow as a tenant. Learn about your responsibilities as a tenant.

If you think there's a violation of housing code, you can contact one of our inspectors, or contact BOS: 311.

Bed bugs

Property owners must give us written extermination reports within 14 days of getting a bed bug violation. They need to give us these reports before we close a case. We work with owners who have:

  • contracted licensed Pest Control Operators
  • treatment programs in place, and
  • written documents for their treatment programs.

Our standard bed bug notice requires that property owners inspect all units in the home. They must treat all units next to the infested units. This includes units that are above, below, and next to each infested unit. We have more information on the control and prevention of bed bugs.

Did you find bed bugs in your apartment? You can file a report with BOS:311.

More information

We’re working to improve the quality of housing in the City. You can find out how we handle pest infestations and hoarding. We protect elderly and disabled housing in the City, and make sure homes are safe for children with asthma through our Breathe Easy at Home program.