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Boston Requires Colleges To Hand Over Off-Campus Student Addresses

BOSTON — The Boston City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday to require colleges to provide the city with the addresses of students who live off-campus.

Councilors pushed for the measure after a Boston Globe investigation showed that landlords were repeatedly violating city ordinances in housing students, leading to overcrowded apartments with dangerous conditions.

Boston colleges and universities will now need to provide the city with the address and unit number for student apartments. The schools will not provide student names.

The Globe investigation uncovered violations such as overcrowding, blocked fire escapes and faulty safety alarms in many students apartments, including that of Binland Lee, a 22-year-old Boston University senior who died in a April 2013 fire.

Firefighters responded to a multiple-alarm fire in Allston on Sunday, April 28, 2013. One person died and 15 were injured. (Boston Fire Department)

Firefighters responded to a multiple-alarm fire in Allston on April 28, 2013 where one Boston University student died after being trapped on the third floor. (Boston Fire Department)

Lee’s family was expected to file a suit against the landlord and realty brokers Wednesday, arguing that overcrowding, limited fire exits and a faulty fire alarm system made it impossible for Lee to escape during the blaze.

Councilor Josh Zakim, who was a major leader in getting the ordinance passed, told WBUR Tuesday he hopes this new regulation will prevent such tragedies from occurring by making landlords more accountable.

“To make sure that in these student neighborhoods when we have landlords having repeated violations, repeatedly ignoring their obligations to all of their tenants, that the city has a place to start,” Zakim said.

Mayor Marty Walsh has publicly supported the measure, saying it is essential to ensure the health and safety of tens of thousands of college students.

The Boston City Council attempted to pass a similar ordinance back in 2004 after a riot following the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory led to one student’s death. The regulation was ultimately blocked after students argued it violated their privacy rights.

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