The letter was nothing out of the ordinary until you consider this: They are on a September 1st lease schedule. And it’s February.
The letter has been haunting me ever since. When will my landlord send that letter? How much will rent go up this year? Will I need to start looking for a new apartment?
Most importantly, why I am panicking about these unanswered questions six months in advance?
It’s time for a good ole healthy rant about how much renting an apartment in Boston sucks. Like a losing team needs the cliché half-time locker room speech, we apartment hunters need this rant to get us fired up to face the rental market head-on in our search for suitable, affordable space this spring.
Here are six reasons why renting an apartment in Boston is the worst.
The search. For me, this is the most miserable part of the process. After a long day of staring at my computer at the office, the last thing I want to do is go home and stare and my computer some more. You spend hours decoding Craigslist postings for “cozy,” “garden-level” apartments, and even if you find one that isn’t a musty closet in a creepy basement, it’s likely someone snapped it up before you could get in touch with the broker in the first place.
The brokers’ fees. Two years ago, I worked with a broker who would show up in luxury cars – I’m talking Mercedes and BMW’s – to show me filthy apartments that cost more than my paycheck. The whole charade was ridiculous, topped off by the fact that she demanded one and a half month’s rent as her fee. I dropped her like it was hot, but still ended up paying $1000 to a less flashy broker who literally just unlocked the apartment door for me, and then cashed his check.
The September 1st lease cycle. Thanks to the 70,000 college students that descend upon the Hub for school each fall, the entire city is doomed to packing up our belongings, renting UHauls and moving across the city on the same day every year. Where’s the logic in that? The result is trash everywhere, nightmarish traffic, half-cleaned apartments and general lack of humanity across the board. If you can get out of the September 1st lease cycle, do it.
The decrepit state of rentals. There are new apartment buildings popping up left and right across the city, but even if you wanted to live in a tiny micro-housing unit, you likely can’t afford it. The rent on these buildings is outrageous, and you’re doomed to a place in Allston with a stove from 1970, chipping bathroom tiles and paper thin walls.
The lack of pet friendliness. You’d think that with such miserable apartments, landlords wouldn’t mind a few furry inhabitants. Yet only 50.4 percent of Bay State households own a pet. Pet owners in Boston, especially those with dogs, are faced with significantly fewer apartments in the rental pool, and even with those pet friendly apartments, they are subject to additional fees and pet weight restrictions.
The high rent. Boston is one of the most expensive places in the nation to rent apartments, and it just keeps going up, as evidenced by this heat map. Unfortunately, renting is still cheaper than buying in Boston, but when you consider all the sanity lost because of the above, is it really worth it?
Are you fired up now? You have six months to find the place of your dreams. I wish you luck.