City shuts Newmarket Square self-storage facility because people were storing themselves in it

The Herald reports ISD yesterday shut CubeSmart Self Storage at 968 Mass. Ave. after learning people were paying a couple hundred dollars a month to live in its storage cubes.

Inspectors did not have far to travel: ISD's offices are three or four doors down at 1010 Mass. Ave.

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Makes me sad

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I feel bad for folks who are having to do this. I am sure they are doing it out of desperation. If I had to choose between sleeping outside and sleeping in a storage container, I'd probably choose the container, too.

I know there are safety hazards, but all I could think about was how frightened I'd feel if I were one of those occupants, worrying about where I was going to go now that I'd been kicked out of my spot.

I was wondering if anyone is trying to help them find shelter.

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Apparently social services is

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Apparently social services is placing everyone displaced in local shelters

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Storing themselves

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This is self-storage, right? They simply stored themselves.

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This is what happens when we

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This is what happens when we don't allow to legally build new dwellings under 450 sqft -the minimum size requirement for a studio apartment in Boston. And since most areas are also zoned with high parking requirements (i.e. extremely inefficient use of expensive land), practically nothing market rate gets build for under $400k - $450k per unit or $2000/month in rent.

The City just launched a two year pilot program that allows for smaller units and lesser parking requirement when near the T. It remains to be seen how much of a difference this is going to make. www.boston.gov/housing/compact-living

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Ad-Hoc Housing

It can be quite dangerous. The most extreme examples would include the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, which apparently started in a refrigerator that was hooked into a maze of utility cords. People couldn't get out.

On the other hand, zoning codes are frequently written to deliberatly exclude minimalist housing like mobile homes and RVs, for reasons that have little if anything to do with safety.

Rooming houses used to meet some of this need - many people are fine with a room and access to a bathroom, shower, and kitchen. But even those associated with universities are often under hassle inspectors for entirely fabricated "violations". The co-op that I lived in in Boston was covered under rooming house laws and generally compliant, but ISD would just make shit up or say that they inspected when they had not.

There has to be some sort of middle ground for people who lack the means to rent apartments - something that is safe and sanitary, but minimal if communal. In past eras, rooming houses were that middle ground. Perhaps they need to be promoted to ease the crunch.

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Boarding Houses

Sadly, they've also been shunned by the city and society in general. That's too bad as there's a need for inexpensive efficiency type housing for people who don't need much. Nothing inherently wrong with them.

It would be a lot better to spend public money on boarding houses instead of "affordable" apartments. A lot more people would be helped.

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You are 100% incorrect. The

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You are 100% incorrect. The people who were living in these storage cubes were homeless and chronically addicted. A landlord property owner would never put up with having such a tenant which, although you think is morally wrong, is a reality if you are a landlord property owner.

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You know very little about addiction

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First of all, how do you know these people were all addicts? That any were addicts?

Secondly, you would be amazed at how many people you know who are addicts or were addicts before you knew them. That's because many addicts are actually functional and employed! Surprise!

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I don't know for a fact that

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I don't know for a fact that any addicts were in the units being lived in, but as someone familiar with the location, it is a fair guess.

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Affordability

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Affordability is the issue here, not size of apartment. There is no indication that the smaller apartments you refer to would be rented at affordable prices. The vast majority of the housing built in the last few years is being offered at incredibly unaffordable prices.

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Allowing real As of Right

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Allowing real As of Right Zoning to exist in the city where everything isn't a long drawn out negotiation with the BPDA would help bigly. The BPDA and Mayor's Office constantly adding regulatory compliance costs to projects doesn't help either. Every cost tacked on gets passed to the eventual buyers or renters and smaller developers get pushed out of the picture for larger ones that have the cash and capacity to deal with the BPDA red tape.

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Mini apartments

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Yep, there would sure be a market for apartments (<450 sq ft) that are quiet with thick walls, a functional kitchenette and a shower. No parking needed or other amenities needed.

Lots of medical people that do nothing but work, students, in town overnights for those that commute in from long distances, etc.

However, that would never get approval for building in this city/area.

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The world would be better off

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The world would be better off without all those 1500/mo hot plate + minifridge studios though

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No

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The world would be better off with more of them if there are a lot of people who cannot afford anything else. Then the price would go down.

Shared showers are a solid option, too.

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That just increased the

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That just increased the already-staggering number of homeless on the street. But at lease the 33 people murdered hasn't bypassed the number of homeless in Boston this year!

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Desperate times Desperate Measures

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As a result these unfortunate souls will have to move and seek refuge under Newmarket station on under bridges by South Bay.

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Proximity to methadone mile

Given the people I've seen loitering about that place as I pass by I have little doubt that it's some of the regulars around methadone mile who have been housed there.

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What's your point?

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They, too, deserve safe housing. It's awful that those who chose this option for housing felt they had no other housing options available to them. I can't imagine the conditions they were living in inside the storage facility, though I can understand why folks would choose this option. Shame on the facility's management for allowing their tenancy.

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I didn't see anything wrong with the post

It's not a crime to point out the obvious.

Yes, these people need a place. A storage unit is not the right place. Deal with the drug issue and you probably deal with the need for people living in these units.

Time to reopen Long Island.

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There is available shelter

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There is available shelter space. These are the people that just don’t want to live under oppressive rules: curfew, no alcohol/drug use, no prostitution, no co-habitation for couples.

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Another clueless anon...

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Many homeless do no want to go to a shelter because it is dangerous to themselves and to their meager possessions.

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Am I clueless if I interact

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Am I clueless if I interact with these people on a daily basis and these are the most common reasons I’m given? Your answer falls right after them but not in reference to 112 Southampton St. due to its strictness. We’re both right but I’m not angry and insulting about it.

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Really?

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Not for women there isn't.

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My point?

That it's part of a broader social problem.

That a neutral post regarding who was using that housing is somehow in your view equal to claiming that they don't "deserve safe housing" says a hell of a lot more about you than me.

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I’d be willing to wager 99%

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I’d be willing to wager 99% of inhabitants had a first degree connection to the population on methadone mile. So please don’t turn this into affordable housing debate because it is not related.

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Exactly

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yes that is just what this was. The Manager, making money off the company. if you go in that area, you will see all the addicts milling around daily. Someone came up with that idea. Most likely the Manager. it is called double dipping. Make a paycheck and steal from your job. The manager, most likely also steals from the storage bins, or sells drugs to the people he houses.
There is more to this story than we are seeing

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Stop Making Sense, Would You Please.

The Cubesmart is one of 3 self-storage facilities in the area. You also have UHaul and the Prime Storage on Southampton Street. Those places apparently do not have people living in them.

This is about corrupt business practices and code violations. If these people want cheap rent, there is always Sanford or other Maine mill towns (which are also flooded with cheap opioids by the way).

A one bed in Sanford is $600 per month, but maybe, just maybe these people are working as "creative types" at a start up and wanted a place to stay, yup, sure.

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meanwhile

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i saw no fewer than 6 people actively shooting up in newmarket last night, not 100 feet from a BPD cruiser.

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Please explain

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What were the cops supposed to do about it?

They aren't doctors.

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They don’t even attempt to

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They don’t even attempt to hide it along the Mass Ave Connector sidewalk. Broad daylight, lots of commuters, police presence, nothing seems to deter it. Doesn’t help the courts want nothing to do with simple possession of drug cases

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Immediate eviction?

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If these people had established residence, they cannot be evicted immediately. I realize it's summer vacation but where are the law students from Harvard who fight evictions and cost landlords a fortune in every eviction court? Southern Poverty Law Center?

One of the reasons there are no more rooming houses or cheap apartments is that it's virtually impossible to get the bad or non-paying tenants out. Some creative legislator could amend the law, make it simple and make it work for both sides. Ironically, those living in the storage facility may be entitled to have their belongings "stored" in a facility at cost of the landlord.

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Au contraire

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If the living area is not up to state habitability standards, Inspectional Services can order an evacuation until the conditions are resolved. Theoretically, the storage facility can work to get the units up to code, but something tells me it's not going to work out that way.

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Housing

The people formally living in the units could (and should) sue the storage company if they agreed to let them live there for a fee.

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Theoretically, yes

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Assuming the contract (or lease) doesn't note that the renter is not allowed to live there. My gut is that the "no living in your storage unit" language is pro forma.

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Had a unit at a difference

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Had a unit at a difference CubeSmart and it definitely prohibited living in your storage pretty clearly

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I just rented at the Southie

I just rented at the Southie location, I read the whole agreement because I'm a nerd, and yes, laughed when I got to the "no living in the unit" section.

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$250/Month

The woman quoted in the article implied they knew she was living there. Given power cables running between units, shades, etc it would be hard to argue they had no idea.

It sounds like the management was making some extra cash illegally and got caught.

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Yes

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Yes I am wondering that myself. I think management knew.. or someone knew, and turned a blind eye.

Those places have cameras everywhere and there would be footage of people going into units and not coming out for hours on end.

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Except for one thing

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A storage facility is not considered to be legal housing. So the rules and protections regarding eviction are not applicable here.

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That depends

If the tenants had a lease that led them to believe that it was a legal unit, the landlord is on the hook for replacement housing.

After a horrific fire killed a college student in an illegal garage apartment in Medford, there was a crackdown on apartments that were carved out of old houses but never legally approved. In those cases, the landlords paid for the relocation, because they had misrepresented the spaces as legal units.

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We just rented a small 5x4

We just rented a small 5x4 space at the CubeSmart on E St in Southie. It is bright, clean, well-lit, and completely covered by cameras, with a screen in the lobby showing all of the views. I don't know what the Newmarket one is like, but if it's similar I can't see how no one there knew about this.

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Show me a Boston judge who will throw you out

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Show me a Boston judge who will throw you out? The BPD certainly won't, gladly calling this a "civil matter" advising the owner to hire a lawyer and constable/sheriff. People living there should stay, forcing the issue. No judge will toss them unless storage facility gives them new housing and under the law storage facility would have to "store" their belongings under the law.

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Convenient location

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Not only is it four doors down from the City Inspectional Services Department, it is also conveniently about four doors in the other direction from Boston Fire Department headquarters. Being located closely in between these two locations, how could they not have known?

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In many cases

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Unless the business is of a type which is subject to routine inspections (i.e. a restaurant), the City doesn't take action unless there's a complaint. I could see how someone using that facility for its intended purpose would notice people living in it, but I'm not sure it'd be obvious if one were driving or walking by. I'm guessing this action was in response to a complaint.

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Complaints of rodent damaged contents

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If you look into the reviews, there are complaints about rodents and also about human waste.

Rodents usually equal food storage, and human waste is a sign that people are living there.

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