In this third of a series of posts, we are highlighting specific resident questions from the recent District 1 City Council Candidates Forum hosted by the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC). The three candidates running to fill the seat being vacated by Sal LaMattina are Lydia Edwards, Margaret Farmer and Stephen Passacantilli. District 1 includes the North End, Charlestown and East Boston.
Question: I am lucky to live on a clean street in the North End. There is something very unusual about my block, it is mostly owner occupied. We have people now investing in this neighborhood from Arizona to Indonesia. Any thoughts you have on dealing with the problems of absentee landlords?
Stephen Passacantilli: I miss the days when it was all owner occupied. Things have changed. We have a lot of absentee landlords. 400 Hanover Street is a joke, AirBnb in and out all day with piles of trash in front of that building.
When we were having issues with students and I was working for Sal LaMattina, we would have the Problem Properties Taskforce. We would meet on a regular basis and send a letter to Arizona or whereever and put them on notice. I am a big fan of a powerful Problem Properties Taskforce.
Lydia Edwards: We need to make sure absentee landlords are held accountable. It’s not just sending a letter, you tax them and punish them directly.
I think we need to be very aggressive. To let them know, not just a fine but to say ‘you need to fix this’.
I would really like to see the city to push for more owner occupied units through rent-to-own or other programs.
Margaret Farmer: The reason you are seeing so many absentee landlords is because purchasing property here is an amazing investment. One of the reasons for that is because we are not regulating AirBnb.
There are a small number of people purchasing large number of units, hiring a management company and turning them over treating them like hotels. We should regulate and tax them like hotels.
I would like to see these units inspected. If these were regulated, you would see AirBnb units decrease significantly.
The above quotes are only bits and pieces from the forum. Hear the complete answer of each of the candidates in the above video and see the entire candidates forum in this prior post.
The preliminary municipal election will be on September 26th, 2017. The top two candidates from that election will appear on the general municipal election ballot on November 7th, 2017. Polls are open 7am-8pm. Find more information at CityofBoston.gov/elections.
For more information on the District 1 City Council Race, follow our District 1 Tag.