Boston Real Estate Blog

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Boston Real Estate: Apartment rental insurance

As a Boston landlord, I request that my tenants purchase renters insurance.  If your landlord doesn’t require it, you may still want  to obtain it and the price is usually very inexpensive.

What is the purpose of Boston rental insurance? As a renter your personal property is not covered under the Boston landlords insurance policy (in most cases). This policy normally just covers structural damage not personal items that may damaged by flood, fire or stolen.

In the Seinfeld video clip below Continue reading

Judge strikes down landlord’s extra apartment fees


From the Herald:

A federal judge this week dealt a blow to apartment giant Equity Residential, saying the upfront, nonrefundable fees it has charged Massachusetts tenants — including “amenity,” “move-in,” application and pet fees — are illegal because they violate the state’s security deposit law.

“The judge found … the security deposit statute limits to certain enumerated charges what the landlord can charge (before or) at the commencement of the tenancy, and those are first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit and a charge for a lock and key installation,” said David Pastor, a Boston attorney representing three former Equity tenants.

Remember: Know your rights.

Is it time for Boston apartment rental price reductions?

It appears there are signs of weakness in the once strong Boston residential real estate market. Renters have hit a threshold of pain on how much it cost to rent in the Boston area. Landlord’s are now getting the message: offering tempting incentives of having the brokers fee paid and in some cases one month’s free rent in order to have a lease sign.

A look at MLS shows Boston proper has numerous apartments available for September 1st:

Back Bay 192 apartment listings
Beacon Hill 94 apartment listings
Brighton/Allston 151 apartment listings
South Boston 102 apartment listings
Total number of Boston apartments avail for rent – 4,155

1,417 Boston Apartments Available for rent

Boston condos for rent

Boston condos for rent

According to MLS, 1,417 apartments are avail for rent on MLS.
Here are a few examples:
Back Bay – 197 apartments available for rent.
Beacon Hill – 87 apartments available for rent.
Brighton/Alston – 149 apartments available for rent.
South Boston – 100 apartments available for rent
South End – 137 apartments available for rent.

Boston’s glut of new luxury apartments may bring down rents – and banks with them

Boston condo apartment rentals

Boston condo apartment rentals

The numbers are somewhat staggering: 9,800 new apartments are slated to come on line in Boston in coming years – 887 units did so last year, 1,600 will come on line this year, and the rest will follow soon after.

It’s all very welcome. The city – and state – desperately needs new housing.

But that leaves a big: What if there isn’t enough demand for all of these luxury units? What will happen if the market can’t absorb them?

The BBJ’s front-page story today addresses this issue:

(As) high-end developers continue to add inventory to the market, there’s some skepticism among real estate insiders that there won’t be enough demand for all these units. While optimistic developers point to promising demographic trends, others question the city’s capacity to fill the slew of luxury units that will soon flood the market. If the skeptics are right, it won’t be the first time Boston overbuilt one property type. As Harold Brown, the octogenarian developer and landlord, puts it: “The glut will bring rents down, and some developers and banks will lose money.”

If rents fall and some banks lose money, our response would be this: That’s the free market, folks. And that too would be welcome.

And then maybe developers will start doing two other things: 1.) Building more condos (as opposed to apartments) and 2.) Building more affordable housing, a huge niche where demand will remain high for years to come.

There’s an outside chance that the negative effects of overbuilding could lead to more cautiousness on the part of developers and banks. But that’s the free market too, though we suspect developers and lenders simply wouldn’t fold up and go away.

They’d try to find new niches – and that gets back to more condos and affordable housing.

The BRA is approving lots of housing projects in Menino’s waning days

As the days of the Menino administration come to a close, the BBJ reports that the Boston Redevelopment Authority has approved projects that include hundreds of new housing units in Boston.

Eight hundred of them (800) would be at the redeveloped Government Center Garage. But that’s a 10-year project.

Of more immediate interest is the other 193 units recently OK’d by the BRA:

— A $9 million residential development at 50 Symphony Road — 20 condos.

— The Forecaster Building, a vacant building in the Bulfinch Triangle at 121-127 Portland St. — 80 residential units.

— An $8 million mixed-use project at 11 Dorchester St. – 30 residences.

— A $12.5 million renovation of a South Boston church — 29 condos.

— A second project adjacent to the above Residences at St. Augustine — 34 condominiums.

File under: More, please

Government Center Garage project OK’d — without condos

The proposed Government Center Garage redevelopment was approved by the city yesterday.

The good news: It will have 800 housing units by the end of all the 10 years of construction.

The sort of bad news: The units will be mostly, if not entirely, apartments, not condos. At least that’s the way we read the article.

Not complaining too much. The city and state need any type of new housing these days. But there’s also a need today for new condos as well. See above post for more on this topic.

More than 300 apartments planned for Canal Street

Trinity Financial has apparently won the rights to develop a 310-unit apartment complex on state land near TD Garden.

There also might be a supermarket in the new complex on the ground floor, though we’ll believe it when we see it.

It was a long and brutal process to get this project under way, dating back to before the financial crisis. Trinity was originally the second-place pick, but rose to the top when the first developer faltered.

It sure would have been nice to have those apartments/condos already built and sold/rented. The city could have used them in this market. But …

File under: Better late than never

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