Renting an apartment in the Boston area is generally a nightmare. That’s just accepted as fact in the city of academia. So we set out to do something about it.
Most renters have horror stories about apartments that are falling apart, the rush to find an apartment on the September 1st lease cycle, or prices and fees that are so high that it feels like the entire process is some sort of cosmic joke.
We’ve gotten used to tools like Airbnb, Uber, and Doordash that have made old-fashioned processes easier and more modern. But where (on earth?!) was the modern solution for apartment rentals?
My own experience would lead me to ask this question over and over again, like a broken record. I was born in Albania, grew up in upstate New York, and then moved to the Boston area to attend Harvard. I grew to love the area and after graduation, couldn’t wait to get my first “real” “adult” apartment. Little did I know that I was about to be put through the ringer, like many before me.
My Nightmare Rental Experience
Since I graduated in May, I needed housing starting in June. But around here, finding an apartment lease that doesn’t start on September 1 is like finding a Dunkin’ diehard in a Starbucks – it’s probably not gonna happen, and if it does, all parties will be disappointed with the experience. So, for a few weeks, I crashed on a friend’s couch (thanks Louis!). When August was approaching, I was excited to find a furnished apartment to sublet for the month. But one day after I moved in, the furniture disappeared.
Yup, that’s right. The furniture disappeared. It’s still a mystery to me, but I guess the previous tenant decided that they really did want to take their bed, dresser, couch, and everything else with them after all (all conveniently without mentioning it to me). Fortunately, a friend lent me their air mattress to use for the month… which had a slow leak because every morning I’d wake up lying on the floor, with a deflated mattress surrounding me. I was feeling similarly deflated!
“At least I can find a proper apartment for September” was the mantra I kept repeating to myself. I found three friends to split with, but even then the process felt like it was a chaotic mess. Scouring Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, dealing with dozens of brokers, and then finding out we’d have to foot a $16,000 bill to cover all the various fees left me reeling.
The final cherry on top of this sad sundae? Even after finding a great apartment (ok fine – a somewhat decent apartment) and managing to cobble together the incredible sum required just to move in, the administrative work of just living in an apartment with friends fell to me. Bills, dealing with the landlord, managing utilities… I felt like I was the “house parent.”
Our Goal with SplitSpot
The rental system is exasperatingly broken. My experience was particularly trying, but almost everyone who has rented in the Boston area or anywhere else has likely dealt with at least some of these issues. So that’s why my co-founder David and I started SplitSpot.
Our goal with SplitSpot was simple: to make renting in cities easy, accessible, and flexible. (And to remove the burden of being a “house parent!”) We’ve built a trusted platform that provides flexible apartment room rentals to tenants, and a marketing, sales, and tenant management solution for property owners. SplitSpot modernizes the apartment rental experience: convenient listings, lower fees, and flexible leases, all while providing landlords with quality tenants and reduced vacancy.
We purposefully started our journey in Boston—a notoriously difficult rental market—and we’ve proven that the technology works and our mission resonates with both tenants and landlords. We are looking forward to rolling out our platform in new markets in the coming months. Stay tuned here and on our social channels for our latest updates!