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The day before the city’s big preliminary election, the City Council apparently heard an earful yesterday from landlords upset with Boston’s new apartment-registration ordinance and its annual tax on units.

At least one mayoral candidate, Charles Yancey, to his credit, seems to get it:

“I believed it would 
benefit tenants,” City Councilor Charles C. Yancey, who is running for mayor, told the crowd of more than 100 people who filled the council chambers. But he said, “This may well be viewed more as a revenue generator than an ordinance to deal with problem properties.”

Ding, ding, ding. That’s precisely the problem. This is a revenue raiser, not a serious attempt to address a problem. All the good landlords and their tenants are now having to pay for the wrongs of a tiny percentage of the bad landlords.

Notice how one city bureaucrat, whose specialty is in environmental and energy matters, opines how he doesn’t think the annual $15 registration fees is excessive. Needless to say, no mention of the brutal penalties for not complying with the new tax or how this fee/tax is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent when it comes to raising new revenues in the future.

Quick question: How and why is the head of energy and environmental affairs even involved in this issue? We know, we know. Some sort of Sub-agency XYZ falls under his domain.

Still, it just seems more than a little odd for an environmental and energy chief to be lecturing and rendering judgments about what is and isn’t excessive annual apartment fees/taxes.

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Updated: January 2018

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