With the extreme housing crisis threatening the stability of thousands of local families, La Colaborativa has had to get creative and implement new tools for tenants to assert their rights and remain in their homes. One of those tools is the tenant self-inspection, which was developed by our allies at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. We are one of the first cities in the state to pilot the program, which educates tenants on housing codes so they can appropriately document and report code violations.
During the pandemic, the city’s Inspectional Services Department has been backlogged with code enforcement work and as a result many regular building inspections have been postponed. With the self-inspection tool, tenants can understand what conditions constitute a code violation, and receive support to document those conditions and report them to the appropriate city authorities. Self-inspection reports can offer the tenant protections in housing cases where the landlord is seeking arrears or eviction.