Are these housing code violations? Does landlord have to fix?

Recently moved into a new apartment in Boston from out of state. As you probably know, the infrastructure here isn’t too up to date, but this is ridiculous.

I’m on the 3rd floor of an older building, albeit remodeled, and there’s some major issues I think are even breaking housing code.

Mainly, I have some huge holes between hardwood floor and the wall. Also, the hardwood floor itself as tons of cracks and gaps where I can see tons of dirt/sand and other debris, I’m guessing this is from the foundation?

Ways to fix this and your opinions would be greatly appreciated as the landlord told me to screw off.

Those look like minor issues to me, of the sort you’d expect in an older house or apartment. They don’t look like code violations.

The bottom of the walls are usually covered by a baseboard molding. I don’t think this is a code issue as much as just an aesthetic one. Fixing it just involves installing it, but that may be out of the question as a renter.

For the floor, the wood floor you walk on is actually nailed to boards or plywood supporting it (called the subfloor). So the dirt in the cracks is regular, in-home dirt probably falling in while sweeping or cleaning the floor.

It’s hard to say from those pictures. As I usually tell people, you need to take the picture from farther away. You know what you’re looking at but we don’t. The question I’d have is, what’s on the other side and is there adequate insulation/vapor barrier in there?

If that’s an outside wall and you have a draft, you might have a complaint and you might be able to get them to send someone up with some trim, some paint and a can of Great Stuff, but that’s probably about it. As others have said, they don’t look nice, but I’m not sure why you think it’s illegal. If you’re that concerned, go and talk to your city’s housing authority. They can help you, but if you make too much noise don’t plan on getting your lease renewed or using this landlord as a reference.

My question would be: What codes do you think are being violated? Why do you think this is illegal?

Thanks for the replies.

More than anything I’m worried about possible infestation. These are more than cracks, they are holes that lead into the foundation of the building, where god knows what could crawl through. I’ve never lived somewhere with massive gaps in between the wall and floor.

The hardwood floor is less of an issue as those gaps are really in one area and can be covered by a rug. The massive wall gaps aren’t as easily concealed, especially the corner one where it seems like the mold or cement covering had been ripped away.

According to mass code, wall and floors are supposed to be free of holes, especially ones leasing into the apartment foundation which can bring about roaches and rodents…

The foundation is the brick/concrete part part of the building that goes from the basement to a few feet above grade. If you’re on the third floor you’re nowhere near the foundation.

That’s not to say something can’t get in, there’s ductwork, electrical and plumbing chases, gaps in the stud walls (shouldn’t be, but probably are). But you can’t put your hand in there and touch the foundation, you’re about 20 feet away from it.

If you link to the section of code you’re looking at, we’d happy to look at it and give you our best guess as to whether you have any kind of case to go back to the landlord or not.

Keep in mind what I said before though. Once you go down this road, based on the fact that your landlord already told you to pound sand, you can count on them not renewing your lease. It might be better to just put something heavy against it to keep the critters out and suck it up until your lease is up. Having a landlord mad at you almost never works out well for the tenant.

Here is the Mass housing code:

Maintenance of Structural Elements
The owner is responsible for insuring that the foundation, floors, walls, doors, windows, ceilings, roof, staircases, porches, chimney and other structural elements of the dwelling do not admit rain or snow and that they are rodent-proof, watertight, in good repair and fit for the intended use. **The owner must also keep the structural elements free from holes, cracks, loose plaster or other defects where such defects make the dwelling difficult to clean or may cause an accident or constitute an insect or rodent haven. ** [410.500]

Just moved in, so if there are any options, even if it means hiring a handyman myself to fix it up, I would consider it. Doesn’t need to look pretty, just want it to be solid.

Based on that, I don’t think you have a case. However, based on this, you do:
Interior walls must be free from holes, cracks,
and loose plaster and must be cleanable and

Floors must be free of holes, cracks, loose mortar and other defects

This is in a section marked “structural maintenance” but I think you’d be in the clear anyways. It’s also for the Town of Dennis. Check your local jurisdiction for similar statutes before you go and toss this in his face. Also, I wouldn’t even bring up the rodent thing…assuming you’ve never seen one in the building, it’s not worth getting into an argument about that. If he still gives you a problem you might just say “then how about we $50 a month of the lease?” You don’t really have to explain why you want the place up to code. It’s not like you’re asking him to touch up the paint or install a new counter in the kitchen.

Actually… you most likely have, except the “massive gaps” were covered by baseboards. that’s sort of what baseboards are for, covering that bit between the drywall and the floor.

You could install baseboards to cover that up properly, except you don’t own the place. You might ask the landlord if you can fix them, but I advise you to do it politely. As a long-term renter I have had some success in bargaining with landlords to do some types of repairs/improvements, often with the landlord covering the cost of materials and me supplying the labor BUT I’ve some actual experience doing those sorts of repairs and not every landlord will go for such a deal.

If the landlord is not receptive to you making such improvements then don’t do them.

All good points, as some walls have baseboards and some don’t. Really strange…

I’ll try asking nicely one more time and see if the landlord is willing to do anything…

Why didn’t you bring this up when viewing the apt. prior to agreeing to live there?