The city council last night voted to hire an "ombudsperson" to serve as a liasion between the city's tenants, landlords and the Rent Control Board.
The ombudsman will "centralize the responsibility for where to go when something goes wrong," Councilor David Sullivan, who sponsored the ordinance, said last night.
Sullivan said he suggested the post after receiving "literally hundreds of complaints, enough to convince me that there is a real problem with the provision of information to the public."
To hold down city spending, the ombudsman cannot be hired until the next fiscal year. "If we can find the money in this year's budget, we'll do it immediately. If not, we can spend the year planning and preparing," Sullivan said.
"Why do we have to wait until next year?" Councilor Alfred E. Vellucci countered. "If people don't know how to fill out the papers, there should be someone to help. People shouldn't have to hire a lawyer," he said.
Rent Board Executive Director Peter Stanton said the new ombudsman "might be useful," but added that he had not requested the position and urged the council not to cut the number of hearing examiners assigned to the board.