Reporting a Public or Environmental Health Code Violation
Lodging a Complaint
- You should contact the board of health in the city or town where the problem or violation occurred. MAHB maintains an online directory. Please do not call the MAHB office for this information. Click the directory link and follow instructions to obtain contact information for all Massachusetts Boards of Health
- Be as specific as possible about the problem.
- Include all relevant details, including whenever possible, dates, times and locations.
- You are entitled to make an anonymous complaint, but if you do so, remember that the board may not be able to reach you for additional information.
If you or your doctor suspect food poisoning, it is important to contact your local board of health as soon as possible, and provide information including the time of onset, duration of symptoms, and associated food. Food Poisoning cannot be considered a confirmed diagnosis without clinical specimens. Even if you did not seek medical care, you can still file a complaint with the local board of health, which should investigate any complaint that appears valid, even if it is anonymous. (although this is not encouraged, as it makes it difficult to judge validity or make a follow up inquiry).
Landlord / Tenant or other Housing Issues
- Here is a brief summary of the Board of Health or City Health Department Responsibilities in this area:
Conduct housing inspections upon request to determine if violations of the State Sanitary Code exist.
- Report findings of the inspection to the property owner and tenant, and issue orders to correct the violations
- Afford the property owner a hearing with the board of health and initiate judicial proceedings if the property owner fails to obey the order.
- Conduct a re-inspection at the property and issue a compliance letter if all violations are remedied.
For more information about Landlord and Tenant Rights, contact the MA Office of Consumers Affairs.
Nuisances and Noisome Trades
The local board of health is responsible for the assignment of sites for the operation of noisome trades within their community and to hold hearings prior to assignment as part of this process. The BOH must conduct inspections of nuisances such as sources of filth and sickness and conduct appropriate enforcement actions to eliminate the nuisance. (note: the word “nuisance” in this context is more narrowly defined than general usage).