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Potential Impact of Proposed Bill H.4474 on Boston’s Apartment Rental Market

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Boston State House Bill h4774

In Massachusetts, a newly introduced legislative proposal, House Bill No.  H.4474, titled "An Act Relative to Consumer Rights of Renters," is quite toxic and untenable for property owners, renters, and real estate professionals. Let’s delve into the key aspects of this bill and explore the harm it would create for our Commonwealth.

Key Provisions of Bill H.4474

Lease Renewal Restrictions

The bill restricts the ability of lessors to require the renewal of a lease more than three months in advance of the current lease’s termination. This will significantly disrupt current leasing practices that ensure stability in tenancies and property management. The timeframe for renters to look for a new Boston apartment would be reduced to 3 months for the majority of Boston's rental housing stock, which functions primarily on a September 1 leasing cycle.

The proposed changes would lead to intensified competition among tenants, particularly around the peak leasing times. As all prospective renters scramble to secure a lease within the limited three-month period, the heightened competition would foster an environment ripe for rental bidding wars, where tenants are willing to pay above the asking price to secure their preferred unit.

boston resident affected

Who would be most affected?


The bill will put a strain on families (local and out of state/international) due to the nature of moving. Many families plan their moves a year or more in advance. Most families sign leases at least 6 months ahead of move date. Many months of research and planning go into a family relocating to the Greater Boston Area.


Due to the nature of the local college market, the vast majority of students begin their search at least six-nine months in advance during the winter months for the following year. Nearly all students have their housing needs decided before finals in May. Hardly any students rent apartments during finals and often take summer internships in other parts of the country and/or go back to their primary residence during the summer. This bill would force students to look for apartments in June. The financial harm and associated stresses should not be understated. Students will have to resort to less than idea and ripe with fraud “sight unseen leases.” Either that or students will have to spend more monies for travel and hotels during a short three month period creating additional stress for their housing search.

Real Estate Agents

Professionally licensed real estate agents would be forced to either leave the apartment leasing industry or seek other seasonal employment opportunities. Many of the best and brightest leasing professionals would ultimately be put out of business. Professionalism as well as proper codes of conduct and paperwork would all suffer a substantial decline. There are simply not enough hours in the day to ask real estate professionals to compress a nearly years’ worth of commission into three months. Real estate agent “burn out” would be incredibly high and unscrupulous real estate offices would take additional risks of hiring unlicensed agents to help them with this “pig in a python” problem.

Property Owners

Landlords would be significantly impacted because the compressed showing and paperwork process would reduce their ability to incrementally get their apartments ready for the next tenants. Asking property owners to work double overtime during the summer instead of allowing them to spread out their work over the course of a year is completely unfair. Future tenants would see the quality of repairs and improvements go down. Landlords would also be forced to pay their property managers and other staff significant overtime pay for several months each year. Property managers and landlords would see their weekends disappear into endless work during the several months of the year. Summer vacations with their families could be extremely limited to nonexistent. Contractors would also key in on these compressed leasing cycles and raise their pricing which would put a strain on operating costs for landlords which in turn would raise their rents to cover higher costs.

Broker Fee Regulations

The legislation would mandate that any fees associated with real estate brokers in rental transactions be paid only by the party that originally engaged the broker's services. This could lead to increased costs for property owners, who might need to absorb these fees to secure tenants. To cover new expenses, landlords would need to raise rents, which would reduce affordability for tenants.

While it may appear to help tenants in the short run, it won't. Rental prices will increase and the long-established Boston leasing cycles will be severely disrupted, leading to decreased affordability and increased complexity in securing housing. Disrupting existing dynamics will not only drive up costs, but also create a more stressful, less equitable housing market, potentially pushing less affluent renters out of prime housing options.

Impact on Housing Development

Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of H.4474 could be on the development of new housing. By introducing elements of financial unpredictability, the bill could deter investment in Boston’s housing market, just as the city is striving to address a critical housing shortage. The uncertainty around rental income caused by the proposed changes may make new developments less appealing to investors and lenders, potentially slowing the city's growth and exacerbating housing shortages.

Call to Action

Property owners and stakeholders are encouraged to understand the full implications of House Bill No. 4474 and to engage with their representatives to express their concerns. Participation in the legislative process is crucial to ensure that any new laws reflect a balanced approach to the needs of all parties involved in the housing market.

Boston apartments


As Boston grapples with the challenges of growth, affordability, and housing availability, the outcomes of such legislative efforts will negatively impact housing in MA . It's essential for all stakeholders to stay informed and actively participate in discussions about proposals like H.4474, which hold significant potential to alter the landscape of urban living and real estate in Massachusetts. To be clear; nothing within this bill helps produce or improve housing in any way shape or form. Quite to the contrary; quality of housing will most likely go down and increase complaints and burdens for all.

Boston Pads urges everyone affected to take immediate action by reaching out to local legislators to ensure that their voices are heard in a debate that will inevitably shape the future of renting in Boston.

Demetrios Salpoglou

Demetrios Salpoglou

Published May 2, 2024

Demetrios Salpoglou is the CEO of which is an information and technology based services company that provides cutting edge resources to real estate companies. Demetrios has developed over 90 real estate related websites and owns hundreds of domain names. Demetrios also owns and operates six leading real estate offices with over 120 agents.

Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.