Boston Mayor Walsh Releases Rent Tool for Boston Renters

August 4, 2017 News

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of RentSmart Boston, a tool that provides prospective renters and homeowners with data about Boston’s properties.

Developed through a collaboration between the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development and the Department of Innovation and Technology, RentSmart Boston compiles data from BOS:311 and the City’s Inspectional Services Division to give prospective tenants a more complete picture of the homes and apartments they are considering renting.

The tool prompts users for an address and generates a report to assist prospective tenants in understanding any previous issues with the property, including:
• Housing violations
• Building violations
• Enforcement violations
• Housing complaints
• Sanitation requests and/or
• Civic maintenance requests.

“The City is the keeper of significant data that can help renters make good decisions about the properties they’re considering renting,” said Mayor Walsh. “As we draw closer to the September 1st rental rush, I’m pleased that we are able to make this data accessible in a way that is easy to use for everyone. We are dedicated to ensuring all residents in Boston have secure housing, and I encourage all renters to use these reports to help them with their housing choices.”

RentSmart Boston is part of Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s commitment to the safety of all Boston renters, as outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, the Walsh Administration’s comprehensive housing plan.

Students in particular can be at risk for living in unsafe housing, as code violations often go unreported due to high unit turnover among students. RentSmart Boston is a valuable tool for students and families to ensure that they are renting responsibly.

The RentSmart Boston tool is just one way the City is using data to empower its constituents. In April, the Department of Innovation and Technology’s Data and Analytics Team also released Analyze Boston, the City’s open data hub.

“Boston is using innovative tools and solutions to make living in Boston better for all,” said Boston’s Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. “By making this data easily accessible, we’re giving renters tools to make informed decisions before they choose an apartment or house to rent, creating more informed tenants.”

By the year 2030, Boston will reach more than 700,000 residents, a number the City has not seen since the 1950s. Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 is the Walsh Administration’s comprehensive housing plan to reach 53,000 new units of housing at a variety of income levels across the City.

Imagine Boston 2030 is building on Housing a Changing City by identifying areas where continued growth can occur and where additional growth beyond the 53,000-unit target can take place. This growth will create a release valve for existing neighborhoods that are seeing pressure on housing prices. Other initiatives include: working to increase the overall housing supply, deploying tools to support the preservation of affordable housing citywide, putting forth an anti-displacement package that will create and preserve affordable housing, and preventing eviction, link housing and transportation and supporting homeownership.

Read the original article in the Boston Real Estate Times here.