Rental Registration Remorse

Why critical homeownership information shouldn’t come with a water bill

In 2013 the City of Boston began requiring property owners of private rental units to register their rental properties with the Inspectional Service Department (ISD). From multi-family homes to large apartment buildings, the city now requires each rental until to be registered on an annual basis. No matter whether units are occupied by family or rented to outside tenants, property owners must provide contact information, the number of units owned at each address registered; and if owner is outside of Massachusetts he/she must contract with a Boston based agent.

Non-compliant owners will be subject to a fine of $300 per month for each unit not registered.

Of course the notice for this new law was sent to homeowners in the most illogical place anyone would think to look for it: the water bill.

Starting in late 2013 when the requirement was enacted all the way through today (July 1st, 2016 — the deadline for registration), this critical piece of property owner information was relayed through an arguably less than effective means of communication.

Starting in May I began to send out information about the registration and reminded homeowners of the pending deadline. Just this week I attended a neighborhood meeting where this very issue was presented by ISD and many homeowners were either unaware or misinformed about the requirement.

As I listened to person after person talk about this issue and the confusion over registration, I could not help but think this is why coordination of services among state and local agencies is essential to successful and responsible homeownership. The Registry of Deeds could have served as a resource to homeowners by providing this information on our website or thru an email notification system. The email system is currently in place in another Massachusetts county to notify homeowners of changes to their deeds. Such a communications system would be a valuable resource to send out useful information, arming homeowners with the tools they need to make better decisions about their property.

Throughout this campaign I will continue to post useful information about matters that require homeowners immediate attention. My campaign website and social media channels serve as a resource now, and with your help I will make sure this kind of information is available through the Register’s office on a regular basis.

The time has come to bring the Register of Deeds up to the 21st century, tap into its potential, and reimagine a more dynamic utilitarian resource for property owners in Suffolk County.

My name is Stephanie Everett and I’m running for Suffolk County Register of Deeds.


Stephanie was born and raised in Mattapan, where she currently resides with her husband and children. Stephanie has firsthand, personal experience with the impact properly managed government programs can have at opening doors and changing lives. She was a participant in the METCO program and graduated from the Boston Public Schools. Stephanie holds a B.A. from Northeastern University and a law degree from Suffolk University.

Follow her on Twitter (@SEverettBoston) and on Facebook (SEverettBoston).

For more information on Stephanie’s campaign visit: stephanieeverett.com