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Two jump from window to escape Allston fire; one critical

Linden Street fire. Photo by BFD.Linden Street fire. Photo by BFD.

Boston University students fled for their lives this morning when their rental home at 84 Linden St. burst into flames. The Boston Fire Department reports two residents jumped from a second-floor window and that one of them was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

Firefighters immediately called in a second alarm when they arrived shortly after 7 a.m. The fire was so bad firefighters were unable to search the building for victims; however, residents said everybody had gotten out.

The building housed seven people in four units. Local real-estate attorney Joshua Krefetz tweets that city assessors' and building-department records show the building is legally only supposed to be a single-family home.

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Tax record probably right; fire department probably wrong.

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Or could it be that some scumbag landlord partnered with a douchebag real estate agent to illegally subdivide the building? It's not like ISD cares or anything ....

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Real estate agents have nothing to do with subdividing houses into multiple units, legal or not. The fault is always with the landlord.

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It may legally be a single family home but it might have been cut into four units. When we were looking to buy in Arlington years ago, a realtor called us to say that the "two family plus" we had been looking at was actually a single family, despite the units being decades old.

Even when the zoning is favorable to splitting up a single or adding a unit to a two family by finishing an attic, there is incentive to keep it a one family because then you can hide the rent on the taxes, too. Swell.

Medford had a house-to-house crackdown in the Medford Hillside neighborhood after a group of Tufts students who were renting an unheated garage as an apartment had a space heater fire that killed a student unable to get to the single door. A couple of friends were asked by fire inspectors canvassing the neighborhood to open up their garages and, in one case, boat storage shed to verify that nobody was living in them.

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Same owner owns both 84 and 81 Linden. Maybe the building department should take a look.

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They march around these neighborhoods every Labor Day weekend. What are they actually doing?

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It is a single family with three bedrooms and a basement with two more bedrooms. It is rented as a two unit place unless everyone agrees to a 5 bedroom. Not by any stretch of the imagination legal.

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When I lived there there were 2 bedrooms in the basement, 1 on the first floor, 3 on the second floor, and one in the attic.

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The Assessing Department bases its estimation of a property's value on the actual use of the building, not what is legal. If they find a four family when the visit, that's what they record.

ISD has not done a damn thing, EVER, about all the illegal units in Allston Brighton. They just do not care.

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all the illegal units in Allston/Brighton exist because of high demand for temp housing from students and immigrants. The only way to alleviate this, is to build more units which the city and neighborhood activist residents vigorously block. This leads to single family homes being chopped up to meet the demand. Short of intrusive inspections Soviet style, there is not much the city can do.

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