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Are landlords going fee crazy?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 7, 2012 08:30 AM

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The landlord is now king in this increasingly red hot rental market.

Big apartment complex owners and mom-and-pop operators alike are boosting rents in a market where the number of vacant units has hit rock bottom.

The vacancy rate in the Route 128 corridor, for example, has fallen below 3 percent, according to a recent study cited by the Boston Business Journal.

But some apartment building owners aren't satisfied with just collecting higher rents. Instead, they have taken to hitting up tenants with a bewildering range of fees as well.

I chatted last night with a Framingham homeowner who just sold her house and is moving into a rental in town as she and her husband prepare for retirement.

In her apartment hunt, she encountered some rather creative fees at a couple of the bigger complexes in the western suburbs, including:

  • A pet fee, $25 per cat a month, she didn't ask about dogs since she doesn't have one.
  • $50 key fee
  • Application fee - $25 per person
  • Parking, $15 a month to be able to park on lot, $50 to $60 a month for a reserved space.

On top of it all, you were on the hook for heat as well.

It all adds up. With rents soaring by double digits in the suburbs as well as in Boston, all that nickel-and-diming can amount to another big rent hike on top of it all.

"It was eye opening, all these little fees," our newly minted Framingham renter fumed.

Are landlords abusing their market leverage? What creative rental fees have you run into out there?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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