It’s no secret that the rental market in Boston has taken a downward turn. As a landlord, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re doing everything you can to stay competitive in today’s market. As an experienced leasing and management firm, we deal with both renters and property owners on a daily basis. With that said, we’d like to share some insight with you about what renters today are actually looking for. What deals are driving leases and what terms are more appealing than ever.
Short Term Lease Options
Many renters are uncertain about jobs and school and are reluctant to sign a full one year lease. If you are facing a vacancy it may be a good idea to open yourself up to locking in a renter for the short term in order to maintain rent revenue. Perhaps considering a 3-month rental, with it extending beyond that initial 3 months with an option for the renter to give 60-days notice. We’ve seen many landlords shifting to flexible lease terms given the uncertainty many tenants face.
Early Termination Clauses
Some renters are willing to lock into a standard lease but are looking for an early termination clause with no penalty. We suggest starting with a 60-day clause. Similar to above, some renters are willing to lock into a year lease but want flexibility if their situation changes.
Paying Broker Fees
Many smaller independent landlords have not had to do this for some time but in a market where there are pockets of rental inventory where there is oversupply and renter demand is lower, this is one way you can generate more interest in your property.
Hire An Exclusive Broker To Handle The Apartment
All of the major traffic sites are now all pay to play aka pay to list (think Zillow, Trulia, Rent.com, etc.). You need to partner with someone who will commit to investing in marketing for your apartment. If you’re not willing to be exclusive with one broker, why would they invest dollars to strategically market your listing? A good listing broker will share the listing with others, albeit a co-broke, but if a renter wants to see a listing, a good rental agent will not refuse to co-broke. They won’t risk losing a qualified renter who could just go directly to the listing agent.
Many larger properties offer 1, 2 and sometimes even 3 free months. Offering a month free will grab a renter’s eye and get them to your unit. This may be tough in addition to lower rents, but paying broker fees is a reality in the market right now.
Reduced Move-In Funds
Requiring 1st, last, and security is becoming increasingly rare right now. Larger institutional buildings have adopted this practice years ago, but the smaller landlord market has not followed suit. More and more property owners are reducing upfront costs to be competitive with not only the larger buildings but also other smaller private landlords who are being more flexible in what they require upfront.
Locking In A Longer-Term Lease At The Same Rent
Some renters want long term stability and a fixed rent right now. It can behoove you to lock in a renter for two years or more. They’ll have peace of mind knowing their rent won’t increase and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re not stuck with a vacant unit in 12 months.
Bottom Line: As a landlord, you need to be flexible. Not only is it an uncertain time for many renters, but they also have a lot of options in the market. Landlords need to adjust their mindset quickly if they haven’t already and be open to making a deal with tenants.