Housing Code Ordinance


In 2014, City of Chelsea amended an existing housing code ordinance to ensure that rental units in the City comply with the minimum standards called for in Chapter II of the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code. This code intends to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the occupants of housing by ensuring that it is in “habitable” condition. Basically, the units must be suitable for occupants to live, sleep, bathe, cook, or eat, there. Under the Certificate of Habitability Ordinance (effective 4/15/14), landlords of rental units in the City are required to have their units inspected and to secure a Certificate of Habitability (CoH), prior to re-occupying the unit with new tenants and all rental units are now required to be inspected at least every five years regardless of occupancy status. This program is being funded through an allocation of funds from the City’s General Budget as well the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, funded by HUD, and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

General Information:

Useful Forms:



What property owners/landlord must do?
If the rental unit is currently vacant: Contact the City’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) before you re-occupy the unit with a new tenant.
Are there exemptions to the Ordinance?
Yes. Owner-occupied units (where the landlord lives in the unit and property is in his/her name individually) are exempt from the Certificate of Habitability inspections. All other rental units including rented condominiums and units that are owned by a Trust or LLC are subject to the ordinance and inspection.
What is the inspection fee?
Inspection fee Fees
Initial Inspection $50.00
First Re-Inspection (if necessary) Free
Additional Re-Inspection (if necessary) $10.00
Who do I contact for more information or to schedule an appointment?
Contact the Chelsea Department of Inspectional Services (ISD): (617) 466-4130

In person: Visit the ISD offices at Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 201, Mondays-Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesdays, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Fridays, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

By telephone: Call the ISD dedicated phone line at 617-466-4132, and leave a message with your name, address, and telephone number.

Email: coh@chelseama.gov
What to do after the inspection?
The property owner will receive a Certificate of Habitability valid for five years and/or when new tenants are moving into the unit. It is the property owners responsibility to notify the City about new tenants. If units are found out in violation and/or in need of repairs to comply with the State Sanitary Code, the City's Planning and Development offers a Housing Rehabilitation Program for properties located in certain eligible areas of the City. Click below for more information.

  • CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program
CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program
Program Overview

The Chelsea CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program provides deferred-payment loans to eligible applicants for housing rehabilitation in 1 to 4 unit residential buildings to bring the property into code compliance and eliminate violations that threaten the health and safety of building occupants. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) Program. The program requires that loan funds to be directed to rehabilitation projects that serve low and moderate income households.

If you are interested in the CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program or to get more information, please contact (617) 466-4185

Applications and Program Guidelines:

CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program Brochure

Additional Resources:

The EPA Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right
Weatherization, Fuel Assistance and Energy Efficiency:

FY2018 HUD Income Limits