Neighborhood Leader Proposes Landlord Registry

Bianca Mercado, of Acre in Action.

A local neighborhood association leader seeks to take her efforts to improve the quality of life in the Acre section to the next step with the proposed creation of a city landlord and property owner registry.

The Haverhill City Council unanimously referred the proposal by Bianca Mercado, of Acre in Action, to the mayor and Inspectional Services Director Richard MacDonald. Tuesday night, Mercado aired neighborhood concerns of absentee landlords, among other issues, to the council. A member of the city's Community Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB), a mother and a resident of the Acre since age nine, Mercado cited input from Acre residents on issues including neglected sidewalks and streets, landlords “not held accountable,” speeding vehicles and “children forced to play on sidewalks.”

“Property owners would provide a working e-mail address as well as the location of all their rental properties. Once that information is in the system, it can get e-mail notifications when police are called or if there are code violations. A landlord property owner registry allows for tenants to register official complaints about sub-standards demonstrated by rogue landlords / property owners,” Mercado said. “Local authorities have a role to play in delivering a better quality set for the tenants. This registry would ensure our local authority departments talk to one another about the cases that come to their attention.”

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Haverhill City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

Several councilors cited personal ties to the Acre section in contrast to a belief among residents, according to Mercado, that “the city doesn’t care about this part of town.” However, Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan said the Acre and Mount Washington are “their greatest challenges.”

“There’s some great people still living in that neighborhood and it starts with the neighbors to take it back,” Sullivan said. “You’re doing a great job and I will do everything I can and I know everyone else will as well. The registry idea is interesting. I’ll let the mayor also think about that and if that’s doable and it can achieve positive results. All these issues tie in together. The quality of life in the neighborhoods, it’s very complex, we need a comprehensive approach.”

According to Mercado, the association has grown from 22 people who attended a community meeting last June to 261 active members on a Facebook page. She told councilors it was “proof people care and are willing to participate.” WHAV reported last June Mercado, in “collaboration from city hall,” organized the neighborhood meeting to bridge a “disconnect within our residents” and with neighbors, old and new. Mercado said the formation of a neighborhood association was a key recommendation in a 2009 survey and report by the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.

In other items, councilors unanimously approved, without discussion, the city’s request to amend a 2012 bond authorization for improvements to the Merrimack River floodwall behind Merrimack Street. A reported $130,000 surplus in a nearly $6.1 million loan will be used toward bringing in engineering company AECOM as construction manager for a new downtown boardwalk extension above the flood wall between the Harbor Place project and Haverhill Bank. AECOM will also serve to “review other invoices generated by the Harbor Place project.”

5 thoughts on “Neighborhood Leader Proposes Landlord Registry

  1. Do I detect the hand of our resident Community Organizer here? I would remind the Community Organizer AND the residents that the people who live in the Acre and Mount Washington areas are the people who junked it up, and they are going to have to be the ones to keep their fellow residents under control.

    As mentioned by other commenters, the residents have to take responsibility for their own actions here, and if a tenant doesn’t like his/her surroundings or the neighborhood, MOVE! It is impossible for the City to solve everyone’s problems, and the landlord’s responsibility is to provide HOUSING, not to provide a playground for kids to play on. Makes one wonder why some of these complainers moved into their apartments if they are so unhappy with where they live..

  2. If people want to see who owns property, it is easily accessible. Sorry as a property I will not register and will not be forced to.
    Has anybody tried evicting a tenant? Yeah right!!!
    If my property isn’t up to standard you can bet the city has been notified by the animals who have destroyed it.
    I am tired of hearing that the acre and Mt Washington are neglected by the city!! Who is kidding who?!? Water parks, sidewalks, playgrounds etc… How about city services? Street cleaning. Once a year in my neighborhood. Police, only if they are called because they are covering the “neglected” area of the city.
    this city is in trouble an I don’t see things getting any better if people don’t start stepping up and taking responsibility.

  3. Are you serious? “Neglected sidewalks and streets, landlords “not held accountable,” speeding vehicles and “children forced to play on sidewalks.” Sidewalk and streets is maintain by the city, speeding cars is the residents, children in the streets is bad parents, None of this is the landlord’s responsibility. Stop passing the buck and look in the mirror.
    Also, if the LL was notified about police calls, the police are not allowed to release personal domestic information, so again, look in the mirror.

  4. This is an all too familiar situation tenants are facing with landlords who only own property to collect a check. I happen to have encountered the same issues in the residence I rent from. A landlord who doesn’t fix major issues, refuses to evict unruly tenants and rents out apartments to people without even meeting them. The police, fire dept and city inspection services have all been here for various reasons and still, the landlord hasn’t been held accountable. Let’s hope something good can come from this.

  5. Here we go again…Victimization Nation

    Ms. Mercado: Why not enlist the members of your association to achieve the results of what you want done instead of looking to government to do it? Your members can’t clean the sidewalks themselves? Collectively you can’t confront the prostitutes and drug dealers who work your neighborhood? It’s done all the time!! Sully is right….take it back yourselves.

    The State of Massachusetts has very strict tenants right laws. In going to city officials you’re talking to the wrong people. The idea of a city registry is idiotic.

    As for the issue of kids having to play on sidewalks….that’s the decision of the parents who made the decision to live there. Leave the city and taxpayers out of individual decisions.