In South Boston, rental units are in high demand. Which makes sense, because Southie is an amazing place to live! Once you’ve found the spot for you, you’ll cozy into a dynamic and welcoming community like no other.
A good way to begin a search for an apartment or house to rent is to clarify, for yourself, what is non-negotiable. For example, do you have to have at least two bedrooms? Must there be a laundromat no more than three blocks away? Are you sure that on-site storage is a necessity? And so on. Note where you’d be willing to compromise, though: It might cost more to live close to a T station, for example. Be sure, as well, to confirm how much you can spend for rent. A general rule is that keeping your rent at not more than 30% of your monthly take-home pay is the best way to go. Though that isn’t realistic for everyone (including many Bostonians), it’s an important mark to aim for. If the current tenants are available, ask how much they typically spend monthly on utilities, to help you estimate your budget.
Because rental properties are taken so quickly, have your credit, reference and bank account information, plus checks (for a deposit), with you. If two or more people are seeking to rent together, they should all go on the initial visit. Otherwise, by the time everyone can make plans to see the place, it very well might have been rented to someone else.
Parking spots, just like rental units, can be hard to find. Chat with local residents about on-street parking and nearby garages that offer spaces for a monthly fee.
Once you’ve had your application for a new home accepted, read the lease before signing it. Massachusetts requires all rental agencies to use a standardized form (called the “RHA lease”) for apartments, but it’s still important that you know what is in the document you’re signing, which includes an outline of your rights as a tenant.
Here are some resources for additional information:
“Jumpshell” compares average rental rates in Boston’s different communities, including South Boston.
“Curbed University” has come up with some great questions and answers about the logistics and legalities of renting in Boston in general.
Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team
Photography credit: Veer.com