Frequently Asked Questions - Rentals

Frequently asked questions about renting:

What paperwork will I need to provide?

The paperwork required to complete a rental application usually includes a credit check (usually done by us), letter of employment, bank statements, pay stubs or proof of student enrollment. You may or may not need all of these items. If you are unable to provide any of these documents, you may be able to use a guarantor (cosigner). Consult with your agent, as many landlords have different qualification procedures.

How much do I have to earn to be approved?

Most local landlords want to see that your monthly income is equal to three times your portion of the monthly rent payment.

Does the building allow guarantors?

At the discretion of the landlord, some buildings allow guarantors with Massachusetts residence only,
However, certain landlords will accept a guarantor from anywhere in the United States. Typically landlords will require a cosigner if an applicant does not meet income requirements and credit requirements, does not have sufficient work history or cannot verify stable income.

What does my guarantor need to do?

A guarantor typically must earn an monthly income that is 5-6 times greater than the monthly rent in most buildings and have a good credit history.

Can I combine incomes?

Sometimes landlords will allow prospective tenants to combine their incomes, while in other cases, they will require that one individual qualifies on his or her own.

How long does it take for approval?

The length of time varies. A rental application can take as little as one hour, or as long as one week to be approved. We will do everything we can to make sure this process is done as quickly as possible for you, but you can greatly speed up the process by having all paperwork ready prior to starting your search.

What is a broker fee and how much will I need to pay? Why are some places no fee and others aren't?

Typically the broker fee amount is equal to one month's rent. We get compensated for our services by being paid this fee either by you or the landlord. The market conditions determine how much of it the landlords are willing to cover for you. When the market is slow or when a landlord is eager to fill their apartment, they will usually pay half of the fee or pay the whole portion for you. When the market is hot, or when the landlords have already discounted the rental price and know they can rent it quickly, they sometimes do not offer to pay any of the fee for you. Keep in mind that "no fee" apartments are often higher in price so its best to keep all available options open.

What is included in the rent?

Usually in large apartment buildings located near MBTA Trains, the heat and hot water are included. Electric and Cable are typically paid separately. Often when renting in a multi family house, the tenants are responsible for heat and hot water costs.

What is a security deposit?

A deposit is usually one month's rent, though it can vary in each building. The money is used in the event that damages are incurred to the apartment. The deposit money may not be used to pay the last month's rent. Your security deposit will be refunded in full at the end of your lease, provided there are no damages to the apartment.

What are the lease terms?

Typical lease terms are either 12 months, or run until August 31st of any given year.

Is the building pet friendly?

Depending on the building, different rules dictate whether a particular pet would be allowed. In some cases, pets need to be under a certain weight requirement, typically 30-40 lbs, which would exclude larger dogs from living there. Some buildings allow just cats, while others do not allow pets at all. It is also possible for a building to limit the number of pets permitted to one or maybe two.

Where is public transportation?

We encourage you to use the www.MBTA.com website to locate the nearest train/bus station and estimate commute times. Our agents are happy to provide you with the closest stops to your apartment of interest.

Can I paint the walls?

Sometimes, but they usually must be restored to the original color before you vacate.

Will the apartment be painted before I move in?

Not always. Every building has a different procedure for its walls when apartments change from one tenant to another.

Will the apartment be cleaned?

Most of the time apartments are cleaned and painted prior to a new tenant's occupancy, but you should always ask for confirmation. It also depends on how soon you will be moving in after the previous tenant leaves.

Will the apartment be pre-wired for phone and cable?

Most buildings are pre-wired for cable and phone lines, which simply need to be activated upon occupancy. If wiring is not already in place, arrangements can be made to install these services.

What is an alcove studio?

An alcove studio usually has a recessed area within the apartment that can be divided into a separate space.

What is a split?

Split apartments usually have bedroom doors to access all rooms. For example a 1 bedroom split would have a bedroom doorway on both the living room and bedroom, meaning that either room could be used as a bedroom if desired, which would basically be a 2 bedroom with no living room.

Can I sublet my apartment? What if I need to break the lease?

This depends on the landlord and building. For the most part, you must make your intent clear upon signing the lease. Many landlords will allow you to sublet if you find tenants to replace you, and those tenants must go through the same application process that you did. Even then, you are usually on the hook if the new tenants fail to pay rent. If the landlord allows you to "break the lease" completely, you will be off the hook and the new tenants will sign a new lease, although you are usually charged a fee equal to one month's rent to the landlord for the cost of replacing the new tenant.