Local Officials Want to Limit Condos

Businger Calls Bill 'Paternalistic'

The proposed state condominium bill is "paternalistic" and would hurt tenants rather than protect them, State Rep. John Businger said Saturday.

Joined by officials from five cities at a press conference in Boston City Hall, Businger said he wants a "home rule" amendment--allowing local officials to limit conversations further--tacked on to the pending legislation.

The bill provides 12 months' eviction notice to low-and moderate-income tenants and six months to all others before landlords could convert rental housing to condominiums. It would also give tenants the first option to buy their housing.

The bill prohibits the evictions of low- and moderate-income tenants over age 62 and allows communities to institute conversion permit systems if 10 per cent of their housing stock has already been converted to condominiums.

Boston City Councilor Raymond L. Flynn said Saturday that although the legislation is an improvement, it is still "inadequate and short-sighted." He added that he supports the addition of a home rule amendment. "This would give local communities the power to deal with their own special problems," he said.


Nasty Clauses

The bill was written under pressure from real estate lobbyists and without consultations of tenant groups, Businger said, adding that it may cause landlords who want to get rid of their tenants to increase rents.

Cambridge Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55 said Saturday, "Our cities must have the power to severely limit condo conversion." Because otherwise Cambridge and several other cities have only a .5-per-cent housing vacancy rate, evicted tenants can seldom relocate in their own communities.

"There are plenty of opportunities for the building of new condominiums in Cambridge, but we don't think it's fair to push long-time residents our of their communities," he said.

More Involved

Cambridge officials passed legislation last year designed to limit condo conversions by requiring developers to obtain "removal permits."

Without city regulation, the number of condos in the city would more than double by 1990, a recent Design School report predicted.