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At the end of last year, the Boston City Council, by a vote of 9-0, passed an ordinance that makes it illegal for a private landlord to rent an apartment to more than four students. Landlords can still rent these apartments to more than four people, so families, etc., are not affected.

For some reason, this ordinance burned my ass. I’m not sure why I see it as such a problem. Surely, it won’t matter to me whether or not a house in Mission Hill is rented to four students instead of five or 9 or 21 …

But, I still find it offensive.

I guess because it’s the government stepping in to what should be a private transaction and making arbitrary rules. Yeah, that’s probably it.

And, because the intended effect will never happen. Housing prices will not drop due to to this, regardless of what City Councilor Mike Ross says. In fact, all this does is reduce supply, while demand will stay constant. Econ majors, what happens then?

Actually, I misspoke. The ordinance did have the intended effect. Someone’s filed suit, of course, to keep the law from going on the books.

A new restriction limiting the number of college students who can rent housing together in Boston may soon be challenged in court.

In late 2007, the Boston City Council unanimously passed an amendment to the zoning code in order to prevent groups of five or more undergraduates from living in a single rental unit. The measure, intended to stem escalating home values and prevent rowdy “animal houses,” recently received final approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Zoning Commission.

Opponents of the new law now have a 30-day window in which to mount a legal challenge. Attorney Stephen Greenbaum is spearheading the main effort to prevent the law’s immediate enforcement and eventually invalidate it.

“We will be raising every single legal ground which we think is viable,” said Greenbaum. “We will seek a declaration from the court that the amendment is null and void.”

There are at least four or five other reasons that this law should not go into effect.

You can read more about the argument against the law in this carefully-thought out article appearing in American Thinker:

This new housing regulation, like rent control before it, attempts to create some social good — affordable rental housing, quiet neighborhoods — but looks to private property owners to remedy what should, as a matter of equitable policy, be solutions borne by taxpayers at large. Having experienced continual pressure from neighborhood residents and affordable housing activists, City officials have reacted with a solution riddled with thorny constitutional questions and issues of practicality and fairness.

Source: Undergrad housing law to face court challenge – By David Golann, Allston-Brighton TAB

Also: Boston Threatens Property Rights – By Richard L. Cravatts, American Thinker

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