Step aside, Manhattan: Boston’s rental market is scorching. Not only are rents at an all-time high, vacancy is at its lowest in history, which spells fierce competition for available units. I’ve waited in line to apply to an available apartment; have gotten into death-stare matches with other prospective tenants while waiting in those lines; and have been on the receiving end of many a phone call where I find out that the new-to-market place I’m about to see was literally rented within minutes of its opening. And don’t get me started on the bad landlords who are all but gleeful to take advantage of their status as big fish in an increasingly small pond.
Still, I’m a warrior, and despite seeing my rent practically triple from when I first moved here eight years ago, I’ve been able to manage, thanks to a combination of Craigslist savvy, apartment hopping and, in some cases, luck.
When my last lease ended in June, I entered into a summer sublet for a shared space, not quite sure of where I’d want to semi-permanently wind up next. But when an affordable studio became available in Monument Square, a highly-coveted neighborhood marked by pristine brownstones and gas-lantern-lit sidewalks, I knew I had to jump on it — and fast.
Thanks to having great credit and a great agent, I nabbed it, even negotiating a lower rent, and signed the papers (and the biggest check of my adult life) two days before I left for a long-awaited trip to Paris. To boot, the apartment was being renovated from the ground up, so I’d have a sparkling, like-new place to call my own for at least the next 12 months. I wasn’t just ecstatic: I’d struck real estate gold.
At least that’s how it was supposed to work.