As we all know, about 90% of all residential units in Boston are for September 1st. So what if your moving to Boston from September onwards or you made the mistake of not finding an apartment during the "hot" rental season?
One option is always subletting. Subletting is always a term that garners skepticism, frowns, or confusion. In legal terms, a subletter is an individual who takes over the portion of the lease from the tenant who is living. The subletter will pay for the leaving tenant's security deposit, monthly rent and utility obligations, and take over their living quarters. Usually this entails a small fee to the landlord along with a rental application and credit check. However, there are many benefits of subletting (I am currently about to be subletting an apartment from October-September 2014).
For one, you don't need to be pony up a 1st, last, security deposit, and broker's fee to find an apartment. If the full deposits are required and your portion of rent is $1200, you owe $4800 prior to move-in. Ouch. Many of us in our early 20's, without making that call home to Mom or Dad, can't afford that. However, since your moving in essentially with strangers, what if you don't like your new room mates? Easy. Find another sublet option. You can have your new subletter pay the security deposit you have to cover.
Subletting also causes doubt because you could be left with a complete sketch ball. Existing tenants should screen prospective applicants pretty throughly because we all know how many people lie on the internet. Other than that, subletting is an easy solution for a tenant moving away or other scenarios that may arise. If a landlord states they don't want subletters period, your realtor should have expressed this to you when you were signing the lease to your apartment. 95% landlords won't care though.
However, the main point to this article is to point out that a HUGE number of great apartment deals are still out there. The turnover from apartments that came on the market in August or simply couldn't get rented during the summer will be available in the fall or winter months. In these circumstances, landlords and owners will be dying to get these rented. This is your best chance is pay less deposits, negotiate down rent, get a pet into a no-pet apartment, etc. The renter is in control now! Landlord's generally have all the power, especially in this day-in-age, to getting what they want. However after September 1st, it's a different ball game.
Furthermore, what if you encounter a landlord who is still playing hardball after September 1st? Likely responses would be "I have ten other people looking at this apartment, you need to let me know asap!" or "I still can find a tenant who will pay this grossly exaggerated rent, so I'll wait on your offer". Just to tell you after working in real estate for 2 rental seasons, the landlord (or even realtor in that matter) is probably lying to you. Use your common sense and you can find a better deal on an apartment than you could during the typical rental season from February - September.
Any questions, feel free to ask us at Bostonlandlordreviews.com!