MA’s Green Ticket Law Passes

By way of the Universal Hub, we find that Ross Levanto has good news–MA Governor Patrick has signed into law the Green Ticket Law:

The law that is now in place (whoo hooo!) will allow the City to better penalize trash scofflaws. The City will now be able to put in place procedures that attach unpaid trash violation fines to a property’s tax bills. This will give those violations weight. It will also wake up absentee landlords throughout the city (building owners who rarely visit their properties and check on their tenants).


What’s critical about these liens is that you can’t sell the property without paying off the lien. Since 45% of those who are currently ticketed for environmental infractions don’t pay, this will add some serious teeth to enforcement.

But what I really like about the Green Ticket Law is that it also applies to assholes who don’t shovel their sidewalks. There are a couple of houses that never shovel their sidewalks.

Lien on them!

Seriously, while this is hardly the defense of liberty type stuff, penalizing people who degrade the quality of life by violating housing codes, leaving garbage out, and making walking difficult* (keep in mind that around forty percent of Boston residents are ‘mandatory’ pedestrians–we don’t own cars, so shoveling sidewalks is like shoveling roads)–and making those penalties stick is one of those things that makes neighborhoods better places to live.

And a hearty well-done to those involved including my state senator, Marty Walz.

*The real problem isn’t snow, it’s when the snow gets packed down into ice. When an entire stretch of sidewalk is a sheet of ice, that’s not good, particularly since most houses have, at most about 150 square feet of shoveling to do in my neighborhood, anyway.

Update: Matthew Yglesias describes what happens when people don’t shovel out.

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10 Responses to MA’s Green Ticket Law Passes

  1. Rugosa says:

    Good news, indeed. Far too many urban landlords consider their revenue be the same as their profit. Maybe this will wake some of them up to realize that even being a slumlord has regular costs-of-doing-business. (Yes, I was a tenant for 30 years.)

  2. human says:

    Pretty cool, the one thing that could be not so great about this is… well…
    I am a tenant in a city neighborhood (not in Boston). I’ve talked to my landlord and we are pretty sure that someone who does not live in our building is putting garbage in our recycling bins. I think it would be really unfair if he were to get penalized for that. WTF can he (or we) do?
    On the other hand, I am all for throwing the book at those &$*# people who refuse to shovel snow. In the city where I live, you can call and complain and the city will shovel it and they will get billed. It takes, like, a month, though, because they warn the property owner first.
    I think the case that pissed me off the post was a vacant, for-sale apartment building on the corner up the block from me. Since it was on a corner, there was twice as much sidewalk that belonged to this building, and it’s at a place where a lot of people have to walk past to get to the bus stop. They NEVER shoveled the snow. We got a ton of snow around Christmas which partially melted and then refroze into ice, so it was really difficult and dangerous to walk there. When I passed and saw that they had still not cleared the sidewalk, but had used icemelt or something to completely clear ALL the snow and ice off the private walk leading up to the building, I put in a complaint. Seriously, how rude is that, to clear off your personal sidewalk so you can show the building, but leave the public sidewalk coated over with six inches of lumpy, bumpy ice? **middle finger!!**

  3. MartinDH says:

    I have never understood why it is the responsibility of the homeowner to clear the sidewalk outside of his property.
    Like the adjacent road, it is a public thoroughfare and, as such, should be cleared by the same authority that clears the road.
    It seems my town has taken that point of view (although only 8 miles of sidewalk made the decision easier) and bought a small tractor/snowplough with which they do a magnificient job of keeping the sidewalks clear.

  4. human says:

    I think you just answered your own question, MartinDH. Most places where people actually walk around have way more than 8 miles of sidewalk in a jurisdiction.

  5. hjmler says:

    yeah, kill ’em all for not shoveling – but i’m disabled and the local shovel monopoly wants $40 each snow or the city comes by and charges me $80 … so f-off you rabid asshole…

  6. CW says:

    There are a couple of houses that never shovel their sidewalks.

    If it’s “my sidewalk” I guess nobody will mind if I set up a little toll booth, right?

  7. MartinDH says:

    Most places where people actually walk around have way more than 8 miles of sidewalk in a jurisdiction.

    And they have a much larger property tax base from which they can invest in sidewalk snow clearing…the electorate will love them.
    You didn’t answer my question…why is it the responsibility of the property owner to clear the pedestrian thoroughfare outside of their property but the town’s (or city’s) responsibility to clear the vehicular thoroughfare? If the city has installed the sidewalk then they should maintain it as a cleared walkway.
    And hjmler raises a good point…re the disabled, infirm*, and elderly (with limited incomes) held hostage to the shovel monopoly…$40 to clear a sidewalk? $80 if the city does? Good grief, what a ripoff for the people that can least afford it.
    CW: Nice one!

  8. Chris Tucker says:

    Wow! The stench of Randroid droppings is thick in the air.
    I live in a Boston Housing Authority building for elderly and disabled. Getting to the local T stop, supermarket, McDonalds/Burger King/Pizza or Chinese joint is about a 10 minute walk.
    When the sidewalks are clear, even in the depths of winter, it’s not a problem to walk to the local business district.
    Except for the assholes who won’t shovel their sidewalks.
    Then, the veteran in my building who walks with crutches has to take to the street, because the lumpy, uneven stretches of icy sidewalk are impossible to negotiate when you need crutches. Same thing for the wheelchair users.
    Even myself, fairly steady afoot, will often divert to the street to avoid the stretches of ice.
    The next bad snowstorm we have, after the allotted time period to shovel the sidewalk after the storm ends has passed, I’m out there with camera and notebook.
    The Mayor, Inspectional Services and the weekly neighborhood paper will get photos and house numbers.
    And dear, sweet Jeebus, hear my prayer! Let those carping Randroids live on my street and not shovel their sidewalks, all the better for me to document their lawbreaking behavior!

  9. I have never understood why it is the responsibility of the homeowner to clear the sidewalk outside of his property.
    Like the adjacent road, it is a public thoroughfare and, as such, should be cleared by the same authority that clears the road.
    It seems my town has taken that point of view (although only 8 miles of sidewalk made the decision easier) and bought a small tractor/snowplough with which they do a magnificient job of keeping the sidewalks clear.

  10. Fuminahara says:

    I think the case that pissed me off the post was a vacant, for-sale apartment building on the corner up the block from me. Since it was on a corner, there was twice as much sidewalk that belonged to this building, and it’s at a place where a lot of people have to walk past to get to the bus stop.
    Easy Online Ticketing

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