The Rental Process in Boston

Taylor Yates  |  August 1, 2023

Monthly feature

The Rental Process in Boston


Low inventory, high demand, and fierce competition have led to a surge in bidding wars for rentals in Boston. 


According to the Boston Globe, in a post pandemic world, bidding wars have become normal, so you need to understand the rental process in Boston to ensure you secure a place to call your home. 


First, Understand Your Tenant Rights:

When you rent a property, you fall under a legal category known as a “Tenant Under Lease.” This means that you have signed a lease contract with specific terms and a set monthly charge. 

When you sign a lease on a property, under Massachusetts law, you are protected by the terms of the lease and: 

  • Rent cannot be increased during the term of the lease unless stated in the contract. 
  • You can’t be evicted before the lease terminates unless you break the terms of the lease


Step 1: Find a Property 

Ready to find your next rental in Boston? Start your search on popular rental listing websites like Zillow or, but listings can also be found on Craigslist. These platforms offer a variety of options to fit your preferences and budget.

Another great resource for finding listings is property management websites. Often, these companies will list their available properties on their websites first. 


Step 2: Attend Open Houses 

Once you’ve found a property that catches your eye, try to attend an pen house as soon as possible. This will give you the chance to assess the property’s condition and ask any questions you may have.

In the competitive Boston rental market, don’t delay your inspections. Meet with the landlord or property manager as soon as possible so that you can be first in line to apply.


Step 3: Submit an Application 

If you’re satisfied with a particular property, it’s time to submit an application. 

Landlords usually require a completed detailed application that includes your: 

  • Income.
  • Rental History.
  • Employment History.
  • References.
  • Proof of income.
  • Permission to run a credit check.

Make sure to provide accurate and complete information to boost your chances of approval.


Step 4: Wait for Application Approval 

After submitting your application, it’s time to wait and be patient. The landlord or property manager will review and assess your application, along with any others they receive.


Step 5: Sign the Lease, Pay the Deposit, Pay Rent 

Once your application is approved, it’s now time to sign the lease agreement. Signing the lease agreement signifies your commitment to abide by its terms and conditions. 

Review the lease thoroughly and clarify any doubts or concerns with your landlord before signing.

In Massachusetts, the “first and last month’s rent is the maximum allowed to be collected at or prior to the commencement of any tenancy.” Additionally, the landlord may require a security deposit up to the amount of one month’s rent. The landlord is required to put your deposit in a separate, interest-bearing bank account for the security deposit.


Step 6: Move In! 

With all the paperwork squared away, it’s time to get excited because you’re about to move into your new home! 

Coordinate with the landlord or property manager to schedule a move-in date and collect the keys.


Step 7: Receive Statement of Condition 

Within 10 days of moving in, the landlord is required to provide you with a statement that documents the condition of the premises called a Statement of Condition. This statement should cover any existing damage or defects to protect you from being held responsible for unnecessary repairs when your lease ends.


Finding the perfect place may take some time, but with patience and persistence, you’ll soon be settling into your new Boston home. If you need help finding a new home in Boston, get in touch with a member of the Yates team. 

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