This Shady Landlord Just Doesn't Get It

Last summer, I wrote a story about the city’s new Problem Property Task force, an effort to identify troublesome homes in Boston neighborhoods and hold their landlords accountable for the unsavory actions of their tenants. In the months since the program launched, the city has identified 16 problem properties and taken 10 landlords to task, putting them on notice with a flashing highway traffic sign parked outside the property and threatening them with heavy fines.

At the very first press conference to announce the Task Force, held outside a former drug haven at 102 Blue Hill Ave., Mayor Menino called the home a “nuisance” and said they’d do everything they could to clean it up. Within a few days, a new fence was installed by property owner Ed Franco, and the police were working closely with his property manager when I visited the home a few weeks later. But the city’s message doesn’t seem to have sunk in for Franco, as the Herald reports that another property he owns just made it onto the list, thanks the presence of drug activity, prostitution, and a recent stabbing. Franco now owes more than $2,000 in fines, but his attorney says the city is just trying to “embarrass” his client. Which made me think of this quote Franco gave me when I called to speak with him about the Task Force:

“Fining the landlords: It’s like fining the rape victim for being raped,” Franco said.

Frankly, Franco doesn’t need the city to embarrass him. He’s doing a good enough job on his own.