Michael E. Williamson: Amherst’s tenant zoning bylaw problematic

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Being a rental house owner I read with interest a recent guest column by Alex Kent (“Gold rush in Amherst!” Gazette, Feb. 18). In the column, the writer talks about the Amherst Tenant Zoning Bylaw. In particular the requirement of said bylaw is that no more than 4 unrelated tenants may occupy a dwelling. The writer complains that renters and owners frequently disobey this town law and the town does not enforce it. After doing some research, I learned that in the state of Massachusetts it is illegal to ask tenants and prospective tenants certain questions. On that list are questions regarding ancestry and marital status. In effect, the town of Amherst is asking rental homeowners to violate the law in Massachusetts regarding questions of tenants that the state does not allow and terms illegal.

Michael E. Williamson