in Allston doesn’t leave many options
By Adrienne Lamplough
Mike Gallagher of Commonwealth Realty has a bargain to show.
On the third
floor of a three-family home on Chester Street in Allston is
an apartment that’s advertised to have one and
a half bedrooms for only $950 a month with heat and hot water.
That is a steal
for Allston – except for the holes in the
stairway’s walls and the peeling wallpaper that dates back
to circa 1950. This house either was or still is a fraternity house
that has seen better days. The rickety stairway is so narrow it’s
uncertain how the current renters moved their furniture in. The
half bedroom would be nice, if you didn’t have to walk through
the bathroom to get there and the ceilings didn’t slant down
to little more than an exaggerated crawl space. The living room
and bedroom ceilings are the same – they slant so sharply
you can only stand up straight in the middle of the room.
The main hallway in this three-family house on Chester Street
is riddled with holes in the walls and peeling wallpaper.
But don’t forget: Mike Gallagher said this place is a bargain – and
he’s been in the real estate business for two years.
The average one-bedroom in Allston-Brighton costs between $1,000
and $1,200 a month, Gallagher said. For nicer amenities, modern
appliances and better upkeep expect to pay closer to $1,200.
Renters who can only afford only $1,000 can expect to see smaller,
run-down apartments with old appliances and less access to the
Green line and bus routes, he said.
from On-Line Realty on Harvard Avenue puts it even more bluntly.
When asked what $950 a month will get, he says you
can expect to see “crap.”
a one-bedroom in Allston available that he said needs a thorough
washing, paint job and new rugs. It might not be livable
even with these improvements, he cautions, but there isn’t
much else to show for around $1,000.
Willianto Alim, a realtor from All-Bright Realty on Commonwealth
Avenue in Brighton, said a lot of the affordable places in Allston-Brighton
half bedroom is an exaggerated crawl space off of the bathroom.
The ceiling is only 5-feet-high when standing in the middle
of the room.
Alim just moved
to Boston a few months ago from Indonesia. He is new to the real
estate business and is adjusting to life in
the United States. When he was first looking for a place to live,
Alim said his realtor would tell him anything just so he’d
make a sale.
Alim said he
doesn’t work that way. “The realtors
aren’t very helpful. They tell you what you want to hear
and don’t explain the important things, like parking,” Alim
No one explained the parking situation to Alim, who lives in a
run-down one-bedroom apartment in Brighton for $900 a month. He
has to park at metered spaces two blocks away and move his car
every morning before 8 a.m.
Alim isn’t alone when finding the cost of apartments on the
Gallagher said he rents a lot of three-bedroom apartments to Boston
University students because it is cheaper to live with a bunch
of people rather than living alone. The average three-bedroom rents
around $1,800 to $2,100 a month, he said.
he has only helped college students in the two years he’s been showing apartments and doesn’t
know anyone who has shown apartments to families.
It’s difficult for families to live around here because of
the noise and the issue of de-leading, Gallagher said.
|The narrow stairway leading to the third floor,
attic-style apartment on Chester Street.
the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, “Lead
poisoning is a disease caused by lead in the body that is especially
dangerous for young children. It can cause permanent damage to
the brain, kidneys and nervous system. Even low levels can slow
a child's development and cause learning behavior problems.”
Landlords and realtors try to stay away from families because
it is expensive to de-lead and they know that when students are
renting the apartment it will most likely be available for a
new group the following
year. Families usually stay longer, Gallagher said.
“This is not a family friendly area; loud kids, bars, schools.
If I had kids I wouldn’t live here," Gallagher said. "This
isn’t an area for a family. I wouldn’t raise a family
here, no way in hell.”