When you need a rental inspection
If you have a rental property in Boston, you need to get an inspection at least once every five years. If we pick your property for an inspection, we'll send you a notice in the mail with instructions. You have to send the notice back to us within 30 days. We'll only do an inspection during the year that we selected your property.
WHO NEEDS TO GET INSPECTIONS
There are a few types of properties that don't need regular inspections. The following properties are exempt:
- buildings that have six or fewer units with the property owner living in one of the units
- properties owned by City, state, or federal government agencies, and
- rooming houses, dorms, and lodging houses with a valid lodging license.
These properties are NOT exempt from inspections:
- vacant properties and units
- properties under renovation
- properties where the tenant is a relative who is 18 or over and not on the deed, and
- units where you don't collect rent.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET A NOTICE
If you get a notice for a rental inspection, you can do one of the following:
- Have a City housing inspector check your units. You have to pay $50 per unit if your building has one-to-three units, and $75 per unit if there are four or more.
- Get an inspection from an outside party. We take reports from some private inspectors. After the inspection, you need to send us passing reports for each unit. You need to pay $15 filing fee for each unit report.
- We also take reports from Boston Housing Authority or Metro Boston Housing Partnership inspectors. Your property needs to be subsidized by one of these agencies to use their inspectors. There's also a $15 filing fee for each unit report. If your property has both subsidized and unsubsidized units, a City or authorized inspector needs to check the unsubsidized units.
- You can apply for a Five-Year Alternative Inspection Compliance Plan. This is only for landlords who have a history of meeting state and City codes. Learn more about how to apply for the Five-Year plan.
If you own a rental property, you must register it with the City of Boston each year.