Immodest Proposal: Flat Useless

By Jason Schwartz | Boston Magazine |

THERE MAY BE HONEST apartment-rental agents out there, but I sure didn’t meet any of them during my recent search for a new place. These people give used-car salesmen the great relief of not feeling greasy by comparison. I twice had agents accept my deposit for an apartment only to then give the spot to someone else anyway. The lesson: Trust none of them.

Why do rental agents even exist anymore? Using the Internet, Boston landlords could easily band together to create their own protected listings database, and come up with a simple system for showing their properties to apartment hunters. And they can already run their own online credit checks. Landlords and tenants alike would save a bundle under this arrangement. Sure, the rental agents would be losers in all this, but aren’t they already?