Is my property a triple decker?
If your home is a triple decker, you may qualify for City programs that help with repairs and other projects. But, not every three-family home is eligible. To find out if your house is a triple decker, follow these steps:
- Go to the City’s Assessing online tool.
- Enter your address where it says “Search Parcels.” If your house is on a corner, you might have to try two different addresses.
- When you find your property, click “Details.”
- The Building Style section will say “Decker” if your home qualifies.
If your house isn't a triple decker, there are still programs to help you with repairs and conserving energy:
- Learn about how to get a home repair loan through our department.
- Check out Renew Boston to find out about energy conservation rebates.
Triple decker details
Triple deckers feature a unique, stacked style of three apartments on top of each other. While most triple deckers are flat-roofed, some have a gabled roof. All decker styles feature porches in front — and often in back — as well as cornices, carvings, and columns.
Aside from these features, triple deckers often have large floor plans and built-ins that include
- stained glass windows
- china cabinets, and
- gleaming hardwood floors.
Triple deckers were built to maximize space for large families. In the past, families often joined together to purchase these homes. They would use one or two units for family, and the others for rental income. You’ll still find families who have this type of setup. These days, many triple deckers in the City have been converted into small self-managed condo properties.
History of the triple decker
Three deckers first began to appear in Boston just before the turn of the 20th century. Developers modeled the homes after the design of three-decker ships. Three deckers use as much living space as possible in the City’s rectangular lots. Apartments, stacked on top of each other, extend into the lot, with each room opening up into another room.
The fronts of the houses feature stacked porches between columns. The porches encourage homeowners to take advantage of the fresh air. Developers built the homes with windows designed to cross-ventilate apartments during long, humid City summers. Many triple deckers also have back porches.