How to Find a Rental in NE Ohio

by | Aug 15, 2013 | Neighborhoods & Housing

Innova Apartments, University Circle – Photo Courtesy of The Finch Group

NOTE: EA created this blog as a courtesy to those trying to find a rental, as we get these kinds of phone calls every week, however we are NOT a rental agency and unfortunately, unless our firm has been engaged by the company relocating you to Cleveland or Akron, this is as far as our recommendations & help extend. 
For the third time this week, I got a phone call that sounded like this: “Help, we just hired a new employee, and they really want to live in downtown Cleveland, but every building they call is full with a waiting list. Can you help?”
While we can’t bypass the people ahead of you on the waiting list for an apartment, we do have contacts at every single building in the region that works well for corporate transplants, and they often respond to calls from a company like ours (we refer dozens of renters a year) more quickly than a call from a stranger.  And more importantly, once you engage our firm to provide a Discover Cleveland orientation, if the buildings are truly all full in downtown, at least your new employees have seen other neighborhoods that match their needs and have more availability.
But, in the meantime, here is some info that might help those who are trying to find a rental in Cleveland. Many people are surprised to find out how tight the rental market is in NE Ohio. Partly because housing in the region is so affordable, Cleveland and Akron never developed a large rental inventory like bigger cities where people were priced out of the home purchase market. The thinking was, “why pay $1,000/month in rent when I can own a home, and my mortgage payment is not much higher than that?” This is slowly changing in part because of the Great Recession, which forced many transplants around the country to be cautious and opt to rent instead of buy since 2007 or so which in turn created a more active rental market.
However, if you need a rental – whether it is a furnished corporate apartment for a month or a year-long lease on a private home – finding a rental can be daunting, especially if you are not physically here. While most realtors don’t make enough money showing rentals to make it worth their while, if you are planning to eventually buy a home, most realtors with business minds will gladly help you find a rental with a long-term goal in mind.
Short-term rentals (less than one year lease) are typically a bit less expensive per night than a long-term stay hotel. These fully furnished apartments (including stocked kitchens and bathrooms) offer the flexibility of a month-to-month lease, and fees typically run about $3,000-$4,000/month and include all utilities. So although they are expensive, they make it turn-key. All you have to bring are your toiletries and clothes, and the cable and internet are ready to go. And, being in an apartment building or townhome complex offers a much homier feel than living out of your suitcase in a hotel room. And, you don’t have to sign a year lease, which most other rentals will require you to do.
Companies that Offer Furnished Apartments in NE Ohio
Bridgestreet Worldwide
Churchill Corporate Housing
Corporate Lodgings (rentals limited to Lake County – website under renovation, call them at 440.974.7131)
Corporate Apartment Partners of America
K & D Group
Oakwood Corporate Housing
National Corporate Housing
Zaremeba Management Co. (local CLE company with properties east, downtown and west, many which offer corporate furnished suites)
And since the rental market in NE Ohio is tight, many locals who have rehabbed houses are offering them as furnished and unfurnished rentals…Like this one that offers furnished rentals in Lakewood, Ohio City and Old Brooklyn.
Long-Term Stay Hotels
If you are planning on going home every weekend, or only being in NE Ohio 50% of the time, it might be less expensive to stay in a suite hotel with a kitchenette so you are not paying for room nights you are not there.  Most of these are located in busy business districts as they assume you are using the room to crash after work, not to have your spouse and kids in a neighborhood with conveniences nearby. Hotels in NE Ohio that offer this include:
Candlewood Suites (one location in North Olmsted, near Cleveland’s airport)
Extended Stay America (locations in Beachwood, Brooklyn and Copley)
Homestead Studio Suites (Beachwood and North Olmsted)
Homewood Suites by Hilton (Akron/Fairlawn, Beachwood, Sheffield Lake, Solon)
Residence Inn by Marriott (downtown Cleveland, Independence, Beachwood, Westlake, North Canton, Middleburg Heighs and Mentor)
Towneplace Suites by Marriott (Cleveland Airport, Westlake and Streetsboro)
Staybridge Suites by InterContinental Hotel (Mayfield Heights and Stow)
StudioPLUS (Middleburg Heights, North Olmsted, Westlake and Copley)
Value Place (plans to build an additional hotel near the Cleveland airport, announced August 2013)
Long-Term Rentals (One Year Lease Minimum)
Whether you need an apartment in a high-rise with lots of amenities or a single family home in a neighborhood with great schools for your kids, there are dozens of websites you can peruse. If you do plan on renting for a year to get to know our region and then will buy, most realtors would welcome the chance to work with you with the hopes that you will remember them when it’s time to buy. So, don’t skip calling a realtor to explain your situation; but be honest, it’s only fair.
If you are interested in a specific neighborhood, these niche websites might help you narrow down your search:

  • City of Cleveland’s University Circle area (museum and business district just three miles east of downtown)
  • City of Cleveland’s downtown neighborhoods (Warehouse District, Theater District, Gateway, Flats, etc.) There is lots more to come with more than 1,800 more apartments coming on line by 2015 – and see our blog posting, Do People Live in Downtown Cleveland? for more links.
  • City of Cleveland’s Shaker Square neighborhood or sub-leases in The Moreland Courts condo buildings
  • Lakewood’s Gold Coast neighborhood (call Condo Realty at 216.221.8500)
  • Cleveland Heights Rental Office offers free assistance to those who want help finding a rental (or home) in their suburb (a rare government service that has been cut from most suburbs budgets).

Real Estate Management Companies
And,  here are just a handful of local real estate management companies that have multiple rental buildings and are good “one stop shops” including:

  • Cicerchi Development Corp. – Apartments on E. 4th Street downtown and single family homes in the Heights area
  • The Finch Group – Four residential buildings in University Circle (great for those who want a rental near Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals or Case Western Reserve University)
  • Millenia Companies – own several bulidings in downtown CLE (Garfield, Statler Arms) as well as one on Gold Coast in Lakewood
  • Montlack Realty – Dozens of apartments in Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and the city of Cleveland
  • K&D Developers – Apartment buildings in downtown Cleveland and the suburbs
  • another good resource: Private Lodgings – Furnished and unfurnished apartments and homes including carriage homes, home-share situations (i.e. in-law suite). Rentals tend to be all on the Eastside as their biggest clients are the hospitals in the University Circle area so their focus is Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, etc.

Check out another one of our blog postings for our recommendations on the best residential buildings in downtown Cleveland, based on lots of feedback from our clients.
Some Additional Websites
Some of our clients have successfully use these sites to find a rental in Cleveland or Akron: (Cleveland/Akron link) (The Plain Dealer, daily paper in Cleveland) (Cleveland’s alternative weekly paper, click on Classifieds, then Rentals) (Akron’s daily paper – The Beacon Journal) (monthly newspaper for Cleveland’s eastern suburbs)
And, remember that virtually all of the real estate firms now keep track of rentals just like they do “for sale” properties. During the Recession, they needed to help find clients rentals as often as homes to purchase and typically charge a very reasonable fee (sometimes as little as one month’s rent) to recommend pre-screened rentals that meet your criteria.
If you are a client of Executive Arrangements, please let us help you narrow down the neighborhoods and rentals using your criteria so your search can be much more productive.  And EA often has info on rentals that are not listed anywhere else as locals know our clients come pre-screened and are the ideal candidate for a rental (especially on single family homes).