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How to Verify a Professional's License in Boston?

The Massachusetts Division of Occupational Licensure is responsible for the licensing and regulation of more than 580,000 eligible professionals across over 150 trades and professions in Boston through its various boards and offices. This agency maintains a Check a License webpage that provides resources that you can utilize to confirm the licensing status of professionals in Boston that you intend to hire for a task. You can also contact the Division of Occupational Licensure at (617) 701-8600 to authenticate the validity of your intended professional's license.

While it is important to ensure that your intended professional has a valid occupational license, it is equally important to make sure that you obtain every necessary permit that may be required for your project. Permits are typically required for building and construction projects in Boston, and some commonly required permits include electrical permits, plumbing permits, gas permits, new construction permits, and demolition permits. These permits are issued by the city's Inspectional Services Department and the process for obtaining one is primarily dependent on the type and scope of your intended project. You can contact the Inspectional Services Department at (617) 635-5300 to inquire about the specific permitting process for your project.

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Do Boston Neighborhood Councils
Issue Permits?

Boston has over 20 neighborhoods, including Jamaica Plain, Back Bay, Allston, and Beacon Hill. Community members in these neighborhoods typically come together to form neighborhood clubs and organizations through which residents can actively engage with each other and the wider community as a whole. It should be noted that these neighborhood clubs and associations do not issue building and construction permits. However, they typically work hand in hand with the city's Neighborhood Services Department to provide a forum for Bostonians to express concerns, request services and offer opinions on matters that affect their different communities and way of life. You can utilize the city's My Neighborhood webpage to get information on your local neighborhood representatives and also on available public resources near you. In June 2021, several downtown neighborhood associations sponsored a Boston Downtown Neighborhoods Mayoral Candidates Forum to help residents of the area get to know the candidates of the city's mayoral elections better and also provide an avenue for these candidates to discuss their respective plans for the area. In September 2021, city officials released a guideline governing the review of transportation and development projects in Mattapan that allows for the input of community members, neighborhood groups, and associations in the area.

How to File an Unfair Business
Complaint in Boston?

Bostonians can file consumer complaints concerning unfair or deceptive business practices with the city's Consumer Affairs Office by calling (617) 635-3834 or by submitting a properly completed consumer complaint form to:

  • Boston City Hall
  • 1 City Hall Square
  • Room 817
  • Boston, MA 02201

The Consumer Affairs Office typically tries to provide resolutions to complaints before they end up in court. However, in the event that you decide to take legal action, this office may act as a mediator or inform you about other available services that can help resolve your issue. Note that Consumer Affairs Office cannot provide you with legal advice, and so you may have to retain the services of a private lawyer if you intend to take further legal action after filing your complaint. The specific nature of this legal action may vary and it typically depends on the nature of your complaint. For example, if you are seeking redress or damages that do not exceed $7,000, you can file a small claims case in an appropriate court. You can find qualified private lawyers near you or access community resources that specialize in the areas of law that are relevant to your specific situation by making use of the Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service.