By Ginger DeShaney

The Sept. 1 lease cycle puts a lot of pressure on our neighborhood – from clogged traffic and mounds and mounds of trash, to long lines at local businesses. But because the move-out (Aug. 31) and move-in dates fall midweek, we may have gotten a bit of a reprieve this year. 

Jackie Rooney, broker/owner of Rooney Real Estate in South Boston, said some tenants couldn’t take time off during the week, so they were able to move out last weekend.

“That works a little bit better in the sense that the move-out, the move-in are not all concentrated on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. It’s a little more gradual this year.”

Historically, the Sept. 1 cycle was put in place in areas of the city where college students predominantly lived (think Allston-Brighton) and the rest of Boston gradually went that route about 25 years ago, said Rooney.

“Probably two-thirds of all leases are done on Sept. 1,” he said. “That puts a lot of pressure on our processes and logistics.”

The pressure is also on for landlords, who have to clean multiple units in between renters, and tenants, who have to find moving companies, many of which take advantage of this time of year with exorbitant prices.

There were tenants who moved out yesterday because their new apartments were not ready. But those moving out of South Boston were able to leave earlier, allowing real estate brokers and landlords more time to clean. 

“This year was a little bit better … we started cleaning apartments on Monday,” Rooney said. “We had more done [Tuesday]. So, yeah, it was a little more gradual.”

South Boston is not a haven for college students because of the high rents. The majority of new tenants here are one, two, three, four years out of college.

Costs have skyrocketed in all urban areas, Rooney said, noting his research shows the following median rents in Southie in 2022: 

  • One-bedroom: $2,600 (up 13 percent over last year)
  • Two-bedroom: $3,500 (up 17 percent)
  • Three-bedroom: $4,350 (up 9 percent)
  • Four-plus-bedroom: $5,200 (up 4 percent)

“We do a fair share of four-, four-plus-bedroom rentals,” Rooney said, which allows roommates to divide the costs.

“South Boston is the place to be,” Rooney added, noting per capita, Boston is the youngest city in America.

People flock here for the bars, the restaurants, and the beaches.

But the average stay for renters in South Boston is about two years, Rooney said. 

Advice for renters: “If you can move out early, do it. If you can move in later than Sept. 1, do it.” That  may save them a lot of money on movers.

For landlords: Stay on top of maintenance issues over the year so you’re not doing it in three to four hours before the next renter.

And for the locals? Stay off the smaller streets during move-out and move-in, be careful around the trash piles, and prepare for lines at local establishments.

Reprieve or not, Rooney added, “for the locals who live here and have to deal with it, it’s a tough week.”