Vote NO to Zoning Occupancy Change sign now

Vote NO to Zoning Occupancy Change

Stop De facto rent control, devaluation, spreading students, and increased tax bills for most Boston residents!!!

Negative impacts on the city

Limiting student occupancy would effectively cap rents of student-occupied apartments below their current levels. As a result, student-occupied properties would be assessed at lower values, and property tax revenue from them would decline. To compensate, the tax burden would shift to all non-student housing in the city. City taxpayers will not be happy.

Limiting student occupancy would effectively spread students out, causing them to move further away into surrounding communities. They will displace local families and long-time residents. They will bring with them all the problems that they now cause in their current neighborhoods. Affected city residents will not be happy.

Forcing students to spread out would force students to occupy more housing, creating a housing shortage. As a result, rents in general would rise, especially in areas adjacent to student-occupied areas.

Per-student cost of housing would also rise as students would be forced to spread the cost of rent and utilities over fewer house mates. Students, parents, and educational institutions will not be happy.

Legal Issues

Targeting, privacy

Two constitutional issues are raised by this effort. First, students are being targeted as a separate group, which may violate the concept of equal protection of the law. It might be legal to restrict all occupancies of unrelated persons, but not just students.
Second, how are students to be identified? A public official may not have the right to ask someone for their occupation or its equivalent and then use it to effectively evict them. It could be an unreasonable search and seizure.

But the fundamental flaw with this proposal is to think that attacking landlords and reducing the number of occupants will somehow change student behavior regarding partying and trash, which seem to be the key concerns. Enforcement of rules against student misbehavior is the only viable strategy.

Action Alert!

The effort to arbitrarily limit apartments to four students each is not over. You can help stop it.
Student occupancy limit is before Boston Zoning Commission

Limit requires approval of Zoning Commission
There may have been confusion on the effort to limit apartments to no more than four students each. The decision is NOT final. The Boston City Council voted to REQUEST a zoning change to limit student occupancy. Such a change requires approval of the Boston Zoning Commission, which is currently studying the issue. We can still influence the BZC decision. Read on.

If successful, the change would have far-reaching impacts on the city and would give Boston's Inspectional Services Department (ISD) one more powerful tool to invade multi-family properties and interfere in tenancies. Boston is setting a terrible precedent in landlord-tenant relationships that we do not want no matter where we live.

The Council's REQUEST goes to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, then to the Zoning Commission for a final decision. Stay alert for the public hearing that will be held. Meanwhile, calls, emails and letters to the BRA and BZC are urgently needed to stop this effort.
More information is posted on

Call, email or write NOW

While it's fresh on your mind!

Please call, email or write first the directors of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Zoning Commission, where the decision-making now lies. Use the contact information below. If you wish, you can also express your concerns to the City Councilors, who may still have behind-the-scenes influence. You should contact your District Councilor and all four At-Large Councilors -- and all of the Councilors if you can.

Compose a message to one person, then copy and paste your message.

John Palmieri, BRA Director, [email protected]
1 City Hall Square,
Boston, MA 02201

Harry Collings, BRA Executive Director, [email protected]
1 City Hall Square,
Boston, MA 02201

Richard Shaklik, Director, Boston Zoning Commission, Richard.Shaklik.BRA@
1 City Hall Plaza,
Boston, MA 02201

Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston, [email protected]
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

The mailing address for all Councilors is:
1 City Hall Square, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02201
Maureen Feeney, Council President, District 3, 617-635-3455
Michael F. Flaherty, Councilor-at-Large, 617-635-4205
John Connolly, Councilor-at-Large, 617-635-3115
Stephen Murphy, Councilor-at-Large, 617-635-4376
Sam Yoon, Councilor-at-Large, 617-635-4217
Rob Consalvo, District 5, 617-635-4210
Bill Linehan, District 2, 617-635-3203
Salvatore LaMattina, District 1, 617-635-3200
Mark Ciommo, District 9, 617-635-3113
Michael Ross, District 8, 617-635-4225
John Tobin, District 6, 617-635-4220
Chuck Turner, District 7, 617-635-3510
Charles Yancey, District 4, 617-635-3131

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Genevieve EllisBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Boston Zoning Board


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