Last Website Update:
October 29, 2019 5:01 PM
Welcome To The Inspectional Services Department (ISD)
The Inspectional Services Department consists of three divisions: Inspectional, Buildings & Grounds, and Public Health. ISD is a customer-service oriented department which strives to be responsive to the needs of property owners, businesses, and contractors and to address questions concerning plans, permits and inspections in a timely and efficient manner.
The Inspectional Services Department is in Lynn City Hall. Clerical staff are available in Room 103 during business hours to answer questions, process applications and schedule inspections. Building inspectors are available daily from 8:30-12:30 AM to assist with plan review and address questions concerning code or zoning requirements. Citizens and contractors seeking services also may contact ISD by telephone, fax and email during normal business hours and/or may request inspections or report complaints through the City of Lynn website.
Contact The Inspectional Services Department (ISD)
The Inspectional Services Department is responsible for ensuring public safety, health and welfare of inhabitants of the City of Lynn through enforcement of all building, gas, plumbing, health and sanitation standards. Each division is responsible for implementing and enforcing all laws, codes and ordinances within their focus area. The Department is additionally responsible for promulgating policies adopted by the various boards acting through ISD including the Board of Health, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Examiners and Site Plan Review Committee
Contact the Inspectional Services Department
During Business Hours:
Telephone: (781) 598-4000
Fax: (781) 477-7031
Or, After Hours or in Case Of Emergency:
Frequently Asked Questions
What permits/licenses are issued by the Inspectional Division?
The Inspectional Division encompasses all city trade and health inspectors. Trade inspectors review and issue permits for the construction/alteration/demolition of buildings, electrical wiring and service, gas and plumbing fixtures and mechanical appliances. A permit also may be necessary to erect a sign or billboard, to excavate a trench or to complete sheet metal installation. City health inspectors issue licenses relative to food and food establishments, occupancy of residential and retail spaces, body art/piercing places, trash removal and disposal.
How I do apply for a permit?
You may submit permit applications, pay fees or request additional information at Lynn City Hall, Room 401, when City Hall is open, or via the online GeoTMS portal.
Who can obtain a building permit?
Only a licensed contractor can obtain a building permit, except that the owner of a single- or two-family home which he/she occupies may personally apply for a permit.
Can I make improvements to my own property myself?
A property owner may make improvements to a residential single- or two-family residence in which he/she resides, unless the building inspector determines that the workers are incompetent and/or unprepared for the task. A licensed contractor must be hired to make improvements to all other types structures.
What if I’ve already started a project without a permit?
Persons engaging in work without a permit may face daily fines and may be ordered to remove completed work which violates state or municipal law. If you’ve begun a project without approval, you should stop immediately and submit a permit application to the Inspectional Division, City Hall, Room 401 or via the online GeoTMS portal.
How do I determine whether a structure is located in a residential or commercial zone?
To determine what zone a property is located within please review the City Zoning Map. The City Zoning Ordinance identifies which types of structures and uses are permitted by right and which require special approval in each area.
Can you recommend a contractor for home improvement?
Inspectional Services Department staff cannot directly recommend a contractor to you. For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety’s website: Information on Selecting a Contractor.
Can I speak with an inspector before I start a new project?
Yes, absolutely! A building inspector is available every morning (8:30-12:30) at City Hall, Room 405, to review plans, offer suggestions and explanations and to assist in preparing or review permit applications.
Are plans needed in order to apply for a permit?
An updated and current plot plan is necessary to request for a building permit, but may not be required for other types of permits. The permit application form will identify all materials which must be submitted.
Where do I get a plot plan?
A surveyor will create plot plan to be submitted with the building permit application to ensure that the proposed construction is congruent with zoning, code and environmental regulations.
How long does the permit review process take?
Many types of permits may be reviewed and issued over the counter. For more involved projects, including those involving plan review, a decision should be made within thirty (30) days.
What will it cost to take out a permit?
Permit fees are set by city ordinance and are payable by cash, check or credit card when submitting application documents. The schedule of fees is available online. Building/Trade Permit Fees. Food/Health Permit Fees.
How can I obtain a property record card?
A property record card can be obtained from Patriot Properties.
Please visit their website.
What factors are considered when my permit application is reviewed?
City inspectors will review plans to ensure that the proposed construction or alteration is allowed under all relevant state and local laws including the City zoning ordinance. The City Zoning Ordinance limits the types of structures and uses which are permitted in different areas of the city.
I received a corrections list, what do I do next?
If you receive a corrections list, it means that your application was denied for the reasons listed. If you still wish to pursue the project, you must resolve the identified issues and reapply for a permit.
Now that I’ve received a permit are there any rules I ought to be aware of?
Work is to begin on permitted projects within six (6) months of issuance of the permit, and once begun work must progress continuously until the project is complete.
How do I request copies of Inspectional Service Department records?
Records may be requested during business hours in City Hall, Room 401.
Do I need a building permit to build a shed?
You do not need a building permit provided that the shed is less than two hundred square feet (200 ft2). You need prior approval and a building permit to construct a larger structure.
Do I need a permit for building a fence?
Any fence greater than six feet (6’) tall typically requires a building permit, but shorter fences may not. Please contact the Inspectional Division to determine whether a permit is required.
When re-roofing a house, how many layers of shingles are allowed?
Only one layer of shingles is allowed. The existing layer of shingles must be removed as part of any repair or alteration.
Do I need a permit to construct a swimming pool?
A permit is required for any pool deeper than twenty-four inches (24”), whether it is an above-ground or in-ground pool.
What are the requirements for food vendors?
The Board of Health has established four classes of food permits, as well as several licenses specific to particular food sale situations. For more information, please review the schedule of Health License Fees or visit City Hall, Room 405, to speak with the Sanitarian during business hours.
What if I only sell pre-packaged foods. Do I still need to contact the Sanitarian?
Yes, even if you are only selling pre-packaged foodstuff a permit or permits may be required.
Do I need a permit for roll down grills or awnings?
Are satellite dishes allowed on roofs or side walls?
Yes, they are allowed.
I want to rent a portion of my home. What is required?
All residential living spaces must meet the minimum requirements for health and safety found within the state sanitary code and building code, as well city zoning requirements. The unit must be inspected and permitted before your tenant moves in.
Are there minimum space requirements applicable to apartments?
A bedroom must be not less than seventy square feet (70 ft2) for a single occupant. The total room size must increase by fifty square feet (50 ft2) for each additional occupant.
Are there rules concerning windows?
All exterior windows must be outfitted with locks and screens.
What about lighting in common areas and entrances/exits?
The owner shall provide lighting in common areas and at entrances, including porches, at his/her own expense.
What are some tips in controlling rodents?
There are many things that can be done to both attempt to and control pests and rodents in your home. Make sure your trash is placed outside shortly before its time for pickup and in metal or heavy containers, either with tight lids to secure the trash inside. If you have a pet, make sure that the pet food is not left out overnight or outside. Make sure that all of your windows have screens on them and are repaired as soon as possible if there is a problem. Inspect your basement for any cracks or holes that may be letting rodents in and seal them.
Inspectional Services | Ordinances, Forms, Fees and Applications
ISD | Building and Grounds Division
To assure reliability, efficiency and adequacy in all building maintenance and operations, we track repair work from initiation to completion, monitoring and assessing quality and cost throughout, by means of FacilityDude, a state-of-the-art computerized Maintenance Management System.
The Buildings & Grounds Division of ISD is dedicated to providing a safe, clean and comfortable environment to visitors and residents of the City of Lynn that is conducive to educating and nurturing our children, while providing a comfortable work environment for our employees in the most economical and efficient manner possible.
Who We Are
The Division of Buildings and Grounds is primarily responsible for the maintenance, repair, and day-to-day operation of all municipal facilities under the jurisdiction of the Inspection Services Department in a safe and efficient manner. The Division currently oversees over 24 buildings which comprise the Lynn Public Schools infrastructure, as well as 9 additional municipal buildings including City Hall, the Lynn Police Department, the Lynn Public Library, Lynn fire stations and numerous other properties owned by the City of Lynn.
We provide expertise in every aspect of building management and maintenance through our accomplished and dedicated corps of in-house custodians, skilled maintenance craftsmen and contractor cleaners assigned to Lynn schools. The Building and Grounds staff includes nearly 60 custodians, 12 maintenance craftsmen and other employees with administrative or technical expertise in the fields of facilities management, engineering, environmental health, administration, accounting, construction, planning and project management. A portion of our maintenance budget is further allocated to identifying and vetting private contractors.
What We Do
The Division of Buildings and Grounds oversees approximately 2.7 million square feet of floor space in 64 separate buildings within the City of Lynn, including cleaning, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, carpentry, painting, minor repairs, environmental health and safety and all other aspects of building maintenance.
ISD | Inspectional Division
The Inspectional Division is the primary enforcement agent of all federal, state and local regulations applicable within the City of Lynn. City inspectors enforce all Massachusetts building, electrical, gas, plumbing, and health and sanitation standards, as well as city ordinances related to zoning and quality of life in order to ensure the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors.
Who We Are
The Inspectional Division consists of the Chief Building Inspector and trade inspectors (building, electrical, plumbing), as well as the Sanitarian and health inspectors. Collectively, the Inspectional Division is responsible for ensuring that properties within the community meet the minimum standards of safety and fitness for occupation and use as outlined in the state building code, the electrical code, plumbing code and state sanitary code. Inspectors additionally have authority to enforce a variety of city ordinances including the zoning ordinance.
The trade inspectors review plans and issue permits for construction, repair and alteration of existing buildings, mechanical appliances, electrical fixtures and wires, and plumbing and gas systems – and conduct all necessary inspectors to ensure work is completed consist with all applicable codes. The Sanitarian and food inspectors permit and inspect food establishments and retailers in food stuff, as well as public swimming pools, recreational camps and body art establishments, animals, and manufacturers of food products.
What We Do
The Inspectional Division enforces federal, state and local regulations applicable to the over 30,000 households within the community, as well as all commercial and industrial structures and proposed developments. City inspectors additionally administer and enforce all policies, rules and orders of the Board of Health, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Examiners and the Site Plan Review Committee.
Quick Links | Forms and Permits
Please note permits can be paid by cash, check or credit card.
Abandoned and/or Foreclosing Properties
The City of Lynn requires that the owners or mortgagees of abandoned or foreclosing residential properties to register annually with the Inspectional Services Department.
Registrations shall include the owner/mortgagee’s physical mailing address in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including, in the case of a corporation or realty trust, the entity’s registered agent for service in the Commonwealth.
Properties shall be inspected prior to registration and at least monthly so long as the property remains registered.
Property registrations shall be valid for one year for the date of filing. The annual filing fee is $500 per property.
Changes in the ownership, servicing and/or property management shall be updated by filing a new registration within 7 business days.
To de-register a property, registrants must provide written proof of sale to a bona fide purchaser or an occupancy agreement.
Explanation of Terms
For purposes of implementing and enforcing this ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:
Abandoned property means any developed, residential property that is vacant and exhibits evidence of vacancy.
Vacant means any building or structure that is without lawful tenant, or lawful occupant, or without certificate of occupancy and/or otherwise exhibits evidence of vacancy. Vacant property does not mean property that is temporarily unoccupied while the residents are away on vacation, personal matters or business, or is not intended by the owner to be left vacant, so long as the period does not exceed 90 days.
Evidence of vacancy means any condition that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is unoccupied, including without limitation, overgrown and/or dead vegetation; past due utility notices and/or disconnected utilities; accumulation of trash, junk or debris; abandoned vehicles, auto parts or materials; the absence of furnishings and/or personal items consistent with habitation or occupancy; the presence of unsanitary, stagnant swimming pool; the accumulation of newspapers; circulars; flyers and/or mail; or statements by neighbors, passers-by, delivery agents or government agents; or the presence of boards over doors, windows or other openings in violation of the applicable code.
Foreclosing means the process by which a property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is prepared for sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults. Properties at any stage of the foreclosure process shall be deemed foreclosing properties for purposes of this ordinance.
Initiation of the foreclosure process means taking any of the following actions: (i) taking possession of a property pursuant to M.G.L. c. 244 §1; (ii) publishing the first foreclosure notice of a property pursuant to M.G.L. c. 244 §14; or (iii) commencing a foreclosure action on a property in either the Land Court or Essex Superior Court.
Completion of the foreclosure process means the transfer or sale of a foreclosing property held by a mortgagee, lien holder, or their designee, to a non-related, bona fide purchaser in an arm’s length transaction to satisfy the debt or lien.
Local Property Manager means an individual property manager, or property management company or similar entity responsible for monthly inspections, on-going maintenance and security of the property during the registration period.
Maintenance and Security
Owners and mortgagees shall conspicuously post registered properties with the name and 24-hour contact information for the Local Property Manager. Postings shall be visible from the street.
Properties shall be maintained in accordance with all applicable Sanitary Codes,
Building Codes, and local regulations, and monthly inspections shall ensure at a minimum that:
• The structure to be secured from entry and the intrusion of weather or wildlife;
• If heat is not maintained, the property is winterized to prevent the freezing of pipes and other damage to the interior of the property;
• All accessory structures are secure from entry or use;
• Keep the grounds including fences, sidewalks, driveways and yards, free from weeds, overgrown bush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspaper circulars, flyers, notices, except those required by federal, state or local law, discarded personal items including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that the appearance that the property is abandoned;
• Keep lawns and shrubbery trimmed in accordance with applicable local regulation(s);
• Remove snow and ice from the walkways on or adjacent to the property commonly used by members of the public in accordance with applicable local regulation(s); and
• Any other condition or circumstance subject to an order to correct from an authorized enforcement officer of the City of Lynn.
Failure to register an abandoned/foreclosing property is punishable by a $300 fine, each day until the property is registered.
Failure to properly identify a Local Property Manager is punishable by a $300 fine, each day until a local property manager is identified.
Failure to maintain the property is punishable by a $300 fine, each day that the property remains in violation.
The Inspectional Services Department is responsible for coordinating and managing all inspection-related activities within the City, including interpreting and applying the City of Lynn Zone Ordinance. To obtain a zoning determination concerning the feasibility of a proposed use or development, please submit a written request along with our Request For Zoning Determination form to email@example.com.
The City of Lynn adopted regulations concerning the use, height, area, construction, repair and alteration of buildings or structures in 1926. The Zone Ordinance, as subsequently amended and in effect today, divides the community in eighteen (18) zoning districts as reflected upon the Zoning Map City of Lynn. The Assessor’s Office maintains zoning information available online by street address on Patriots Properties.
The Table of Uses (and footnotes) identifies for each recognized use whether such use is (p) permitted by right within that zone, (sp) permitted by special permit granted by the City Council, or (blanks) permitted only if the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) grants a variance.
The Table of Dimensional Regulations (and footnotes) describes the area requirements applicable to each zoning district relative to lot size, minimum yard requirements, height restrictions and limitations upon lot coverage.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision, interpretation or application of the zone ordinance relative to a proposed use or project, you may appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals pursuant to G.L. c. 40A §8. Complete applications shall be filed with the Inspectional Services Department, in City Hall, Room 103. The ZBA meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, Room 302. The meeting schedule and agenda, when available, may be found on the City Clerk’s webpage
Site Plan Review
The Site Plan Review Committee must review and approve the site layout of commercial, residential, and industrial projects to ensure conformity with design guidelines and landscaping/buffering requirements, including the adequacy of site access, parking and storage arrangements, and waste disposal methods, as well as to protect adjoining premises, natural and historic site features.
|Site Plan approval is required whenever a proposed project involves:
|1. New construction or replacement of a building greater than 5,000 sf in gross floor area
|2. Any renovation/change of use which:
requires more than 10 additional parking spaces
involves relocating existing parking spaces, or
involves relocating site or building entrances/egresses.
|3. Any new construction or replacement building with a drive-thru.
Persons seeking approval for projects requiring Site Plan Review shall submit application materials to the Inspectional Services Department, City Hall, Room 103.
For further information about Site Plan Review please see the Zone Ordinance, Section 16. The Site Plan Review Committee meets as necessary on Tuesday mornings in Room 402.
- Zone Ordinance, Section 16: Site Plan Review
- Application for Site Plan Review
Flood Clean Up Fact Sheets
The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), is providing important information to homeowners and business owners to safely respond to the widespread flood damage. “The recent rainstorms have affected many properties throughout the Commonwealth,” stated DPS Commissioner Thomas G. Gatzunis. “As cleanup efforts begin, please keep the following important information in mind.”
Rodent Control Guide
This guide is offered to Lynn property owners and residents to help protect their property and City property from rats and other rodents.
A rodent control program is only effective if everyone takes responsibility for keeping their homes and businesses as rodent-proof as possible. Please help us by using the information provided in this guide.
STORE GARBAGE IN METAL OR HEAVY PLASTIC CONTAINERS WITH TIGHT LIDS | According to City Ordinance all trash stored outside must be in covered waterproof and airtight rodent resistant containers.
PLACE TRASH OUTSIDE SHORTLY BEFORE PICKUP; DON’T LEAVE PLASTIC GARBAGE BAGS OUTSIDE | According to City Ordinance trash may be placed out no earlier than 5 P.M. on the day before collection and no later than 7 A.M. the day of collection. Plastic bags can only be placed out on collection day if on top of barrels. Not on the ground.
DO NOT LEAVE PET OR BIRD FOOD OUT | Remove all uneaten pet food and water after pet has eaten. Do not leave pet food containers outside. If you observe rodent activity, do not continue to use bird feeders or feed birds in other ways.
STOP PROVIDING HOMES FOR RATS BY GETTING RID OF:
ABANDONED CARS | If the vehicle is on private property the owner of property must remove it. Unused tires must be removed.
ABANDONED BUILDINGS | Should be adequately boarded. Report buildings not boarded to Inspectional Services.
ABANDONED APPLIANCES | Washing machines, stoves, and old refrigerators should not be stored on the property. They should be removed and properly disposed of.
TALL GRASS AND WEEDS | Should be kept cut short enough to prevent rats from nesting and hiding.
STACKS OF LUMBER | Provide places for rats to nest and breed. Lumber should be stacked 12 to 18 inches above ground and away from walls or fences.
Rodent Control Guide Available
|Property owners may rent out dwelling units within their homes provided that this use complies with all local zoning regulations, the state building code, and the state sanitary code. BEFORE moving in a new tenant, the property must be inspected to ensure compliance.
By ordinance, all vacant dwelling units in the City of Lynn must be inspected and approved for human occupancy before they may be occupied for residential purposes. Application for inspections may be made during regular business hours at City Hall, Room 401.
Upon application you will be contacted within seven (7) business days to arrange for inspection. Property owners who lease uninspected properties may be fined $50 per day, for each day the tenant has resided therein.
State Sanitary Code: Minimum Standards for Human Habitation
The state sanitary code can be found at 105 CMR §§ 410.000
. Residential dwellings must be equipped, at a minimum, with:
||Kitchen facilities, including a sink, a working stove and oven and space for a refrigerator
||Washbasins, toilets and a bathtub/shower in a room not used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating
||Potable water of sufficient quantity and pressure for ordinary use and hot water (110°-130°F)
||Heating facilities capable of maintaining interior temperatures of at least 68° during the day and not less than 64° overnight
||Light fixtures in common hallways, passageways and stairways
||Carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors
|| Electricity, gas and water service
Lead Paint Abatement Program
Under state and federal law, property owners must provide prospective tenants with two copies of the Tenant Lead Law Notification (En Espanol), even if no child under 6 will reside in the dwelling, as well as a copy of the most recent lead inspection/risk assessment report and a copy of any Letter of Compliance or Interim Control (if one exists). Failure to comply may result in civil penalty under Massachusetts law, as well as civil or criminal penalties under federal law.
The Lynn Lead Abatement Program provides financial assistance for lead paint abatement for low and moderate income individuals in order to create decent, safe and affordable housing for all Lynn residents. Eligible properties may receive a one-time grant of up to $8,000 per unit, as well as initial and final inspections, as well as relocation assistance if necessary. Both owner- and tenant-occupied units are eligible for assistance. While tenants are not directly eligible, investor-owners eligibility is based upon tenant income levels.
For more information contact the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development (LHAND) at 10 Church Street, Lynn or call (781) 581-8600.
Residential Rehabilitation Loan Program
Owner occupants of residential buildings containing 1-4 dwelling units may qualify for loans for the cost of eligible repairs to make properties handicap accessible and correct all health and safety code violations. Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis and a subject to funds availability. All equipment and construction materials, including windows/doors, insulation, boilers, hot water tanks and roofing materials, must meet Energy Star or LHAND-approved sustainability criteria.
For more information or to review eligibility criteria, please review LHAND application materials.
||Winter weather poses additional challenges for city
inspectors charged with ensuring the health, safety and well-being of residents
and visitors. Low exterior temperatures highlight
the importance of building, energy and state sanitary code regulations
requiring that residential structures are properly insulated and equipped with
functioning heating and hot water systems.
Lynn Economic Opportunity, Inc. (LEO), in partnership with Lynn Housing
Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND), assists homeowners,
property-owners and tenants to prepare for colder temperatures by providing
expertise and financial aid for furnace repairs or new appliances, roofing and
insulation, energy efficient light bulbs. Energy conservation measures may also result in reduced monthly utility costs.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program
locally administered by LEO which assists qualifying households in paying a
portion of their monthly heating utility expenses during the winter months
(November through April).Eligible
households can receive assistance for oil, electric, gas or propane heat until
April 30, or up to 30% of monthly rent when heat is included in rent.
Snow and Ice Removal
|HOMEOWNERS and RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OWNERS
||BUSINESS and COMMERCIAL
|SNOW MUST BE REMOVED BETWEEN SUNRISE AND SUNSET, WITHIN 10 HOURS AFTER SNOW HAS FALLEN AND MAINTAINED THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
||SNOW MUST BE REMOVED BETWEEN SUNRISE AND SUNSET, WITHIN 3 HOURS AFTER SNOW HAS FALLEN AND MAINTAINED THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
|A CLEAR, FULL, PAVED PATH THE WIDTH OF THE SIDWALK MUST BE PROVIDED FOR PEDESTRIANS WITH A MINIMUM WIDTH OF 42 INCHES.
||A CLEAR, FULL, PAVED PATH THE WIDTH OF THE SIDEWALK MUST BE PROVIDED FOR PEDESTRIANS WITH A MINIMUM WIDTH OF 42 INCHES.
|SNOW REMOVAL MUST INCLUDE CLEARING SNOW FROM ALL CURB CUTS, INTERSECTIONS, CROSSWALKS, HANDICAPPED RAMPS AND SIDEWALK LOCATIONS.
||SNOW REMOVAL MUST INCLUDE CLEARING SNOW FROM ALL CURB CUTS, INTERSECTIONS, CROSSWALKS, HANDICAPPED RAMPS
|*PROPERTIES WITH MORE THAN SIX (6) RESIDENTIAL UNITS ARE COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES FOR PURPOSES OF THIS ORDINANCE
|Together let’s keep our sidewalks safe for all residents and visitors.
Thank you for your cooperation!
|For more information or if you have questions regarding the information contained within this Guide, please contact the Inspectional Services Department at
|PHONE NUMBERS FOR QUESTIONS OR HELP
DURING SNOW EMERGENCY
|Lynn Department of Public Works
Lynn Inspectional Services Department
Lynn Police Department
Greater Lynn Senior Services (For Info and Referral)
FOR A LIFE HEALTH AND SAFETY EMERGENCY DIAL 911
City of Lynn Snow Ice Removal Ordinance Amendment