Students, landlords flouting a city limit

As I wrote back in March, the zoning change to prohibit 5 or more undergraduates from living in the same apartment seemed like a small step at best to change the quality of life in Boston neighborhoods where students abound in off-campus housing. Today the Globe reports that Inspectional Services has no way to determine if someone is an undergraduate student and brokers and landlords aren't hesitating to violate the ordinance.

Until the market fundamentals change or much stronger laws are passed, I see little chance of the status quo changing. It will be interesting to see if there is any noticeable change in Allston next fall, when BU is able to house 960 more of its students on-campus in its Student Village Phase II dormitory.


  1. Anonymous10:10 PM

    I was concerned when this first passed. Now, I'm slightly amused that the city is promising to "vigorously enforce" it, while admitting that existing privacy laws prevent them from actually doing so.

    I'm a "grown-up" (30+), work full-time, and also happen to be an undergraduate student. I have a roommate in a similar situation. In his 30's, full-time, professional employee of the federal government, but still hasn't finished his undergraduate degree. I think it's silly that someone (especially the city government) has the right to decide who we can live with based on my/our student status.

    I understand that students can be a problem in our neighborhoods. I'm sure there are quite a few who I don't want to live next to either. Still, I've lived near to students who were wonderful neighbors as well as non-students who were the bane of my existence.

    The city should focus its attention (specifically and forcefully) on those students, landlords, and properties which present a problem. I am all for vigorous enforcement of noise and maintenance regulations, as well as underage drinking laws. Penalties should come swiftly, and be severe enough to discourage violation.

    I would also support occupancy limits based on dwelling size and relatedness of occupants.

    I just draw the line at limiting based on occupation... especially when that occupation is something as important as getting an education.

  2. Anonymous8:39 AM

    960 empty apartments units? be careful what you ask for.

  3. BU's new tower will house 960 students. That probably equates to fewer than 400 units. I think the Allston/Brighton, Brookline, Fenway housing market will be able to handle this reduction in student demand.

  4. My (cynical) assumption is that this new dorm will just mean BU admits more students. I seem to recall plenty of "nomads" freshman without dorm assignments through all four years at BU and this Wikipedia article seem to indicate that they are still routinely admitting more students than they have beds for.

    "Though originally a commuter school, the University now guarantees.[2] the option of on-campus housing for four years for all undergraduate students. This is a challenge considering the size of BU's undergraduate population and its urban setting. BU meets this goal every year, although in the fall the University generally relies on area hotels to house residents."