Online Program

Disparities in inspections in substandard housing and environmental health hazards

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ethan Mascoop, MPH, MUA, RS, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Joseph Lai, MPH, BS, School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Amparito Cunningham, MD, School of Public Health, Boston University, Brookline, MA
The Massachusetts State Sanitary Code regulates the responsibilities of landlords and occupants for safe and sanitary housing conditions. The stated purposes of the code is to: “protect the health, safety and well-being of the occupants of housing and the general public, to facilitate the use of legal remedies available to occupants of substandard housing, to assist boards of health in their enforcement of this code and to provide a method of notifying interested parties of violations of conditions which require immediate attention.” This presentation will focus on a review of inspections of substandard housing units in urban environmental justice neighborhoods on behalf of occupants, represented by legal service agencies, and who were served with eviction notices (summary process). This review will analyze the conditions of disrepair reported by occupants, identified by municipal agency inspections, identified by a private licensed inspector and ultimately litigated in court. The efforts by occupants to remediate serious conditions such as rodent and insect infestations often contributed to additional environmental hazards in the home.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe how occupant efforts to remediate serious housing conditions increase environmental health hazards. Assess how housing conditions are used in litigation.

Keyword(s): Environmental Justice, Housing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have trained and mentored law students in the field of public health for protecting the occupants of substandard housing from evictions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.