Reader Email: Fee for Lease Renewal?

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The Email: Dear Off-Campus Housing, my roommates and I rented and moved into our apartment this past September and really enjoy living there. However, our property manager/leasing agent approached us this December asking us to decide to renew the rental contract, else he would move forward with renting the place to another group of tenants for next year. He says if we want to renew the rental for another year, we are required to pay the agency fee again. Are we really required to pay the agent a commission fee of one month's rent again just to renew the lease? That doesn't seem right. Please advise. 

Off-Campus Housing's Response: It is usually around this time of year when landlords/property managers start asking tenants whether or not they want to renew their lease for another year. If you choose to stay at the property and renew the lease, the agent cannot charge you a fee again. In most cases landlords want to keep their tenants for as long as possible (as long as they are good tenants) to reduce paperwork and wear and tear on the house/apartment due to people moving in and out. However, in a case where the property manager is also a real estate agent, it is usually more financially beneficial for them to get new tenants for the property so they can legally collect a commission fee again. If you choose to stay and renew your lease, you are not required to pay this fee again. If you would like to seek additional assistance on this matter, I would recommend contacting the Massachusetts Department of Professorial Licensure or the Boston Rental Housing Resource Center.

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