Boston City Student Accommodation Guide

Everything you need to know before you move to Boston to study. Even has links of popular apartments in the city :

Boston is Massachusetts’ capital and largest city. It is also home to Northeastern University, Boston University and the world renowned Harvard Med School.

Public transport in Boston is maintained by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). There are various choices for commuting in Boston; the high speed subway lines nicknamed by the locals as the T and the city buses that connect as many places as the subway does and some more. Silver Line is another bus route that connects South Boston, Downtown and Roxbury. For those who want to travel on the outskirts of the city, the Commuter Rail connects to the suburbs. Uber and Lyft is readily available but it isn’t recommended for everyday commute.

Like any other big metropolitan Boston has a steady crime rate. It is advised that you stay aware of your surrounding when in public to prevent getting pick pocketed. Some places to avoid in the night are Fenway Park, especially if you’re alone. Places to avoid going to in general — Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. Weather in Boston is partly cloudy throughout the year. It can get especially chilly and wet during the winters. Maximum temperatures in summer are 24°C and minimum in winter are -2°C. Temperatures around the yearly hardly ever exceed 32°C.

Popular Housing Locations

  • Fenway
  • Allston Brighton
  • Mission Hill
  • Brookline
  • Cambridge
  • Jamaica Plan

Housing Options

There are variations to consider in respect to student accommodation (both on-campus and off-campus). Following are some of the most prevalent housing options that are available to students looking for housing:

University Residence Halls: Hostels or Dormitories that are managed by the University. These options provide expedient access to the amenities rendered by the college on its campus.

Private Student Housing: This kind of accommodation is off campus. Most students share rooms in this scenario. There are many configurations available and the respective terms are as follows: 1b (1 bed), 1b1b (1 bed 1 bath), 2b (2 bed) etc. You can also find studio apartments — These kinds of apartments typically consist of one large room which serves as the living, dining, and bedroom. Kitchen facilities may either be located in the central room, or in a small separate room, and the bathroom is usually in its own smaller room.

Home Stay Accommodation: Under age students who are not eligible to live alone opt for this kind of housing. They stay with a family. These accommodations are in close proximity to the campus grounds.

Generally on-campus accommodations are limited in number and also relatively expensive as compared to off-campus accommodations and also have restrictions in place. Most international students applying for higher studies opt for off-campus accommodation to save extra Rental Costs as this is a major part of the total living expense.

Student housing options with furnishing are usually a little expensive than their unfurnished counterparts. Hence it is suggested that you opt for an unfurnished apartment and rent or free-cycle the furniture as per your needs. Renting furniture costs can go up to $100 to $200 per month. You can rent furniture via these services —

A few housing societies provide additional security by gating its premises by prohibiting entry to outsiders. Automatic burglar alarms are also an additional feature you can look for safety.

Guidelines to Choose a Roommate:

Ask yourself these questions while deciding on your roommate:

  • Do they have a reliable source of income to pay rent and utility bills?
  • Do they have pets?
  • Can you trust them to be around your personal belongings?
  • Are they willing to sign a lease and abide by the terms and conditions?
  • How do you plan to split up home responsibilities?
  • Who will they have over as guests?

Usually, room sharing is closed over Whatsapp groups or social media.

Amenities to Look for

  • Apartment Amenities: Wifi, Microwave, Heater, Refrigerator, Storage, Washer, Dryer, Fireplace. These amenities are basic needs and it is strongly suggested that you look for an accommodations that fulfil the basic appliances and services.
  • Community Amenities: BBQ, Swimming pool, Fitness Centre, Study Area, Garage, Courtyard, Bike Storage, Public Transportation, Laundry, Pet Policy

Common Issues

  • Bed Bugs — These are common. To prevent bed bugs you can avoid using used/old mattresses.
  • Roaches — Safety against roaches can be assured by making sure that the pest control is carried out before you moved in.
  • Commuting — Everything you need to know for public transit in Boston here.
  • Unsafe area — Walk Score is one website to check the safety score of localities. You can visit here.
  • Language or cross cultural barriers — Certain accommodations provide single community housing.

Leasing Terms

Deposit: Is a security fee that is paid to the landlord in terms of a fixed amount of money. Deposit is refundable at the end of your stay tenure. Average amount for deposits is $50 to $300 (or in some cases one month’s rent).

Application Fee: A fixed amount ranging from $25 per person to $75 per person. This is a non-refundable amount even if you have paid it already and then cancelled the booking.

Admin Fee: Selective apartment owners levy this charge on the renters it is a non-refundable amount ranging from $50-$200 . This fee is contributed by everyone who is renting the apartment. The refund policy is similar to the application fee.

Pet Charges: Varies from apartment to apartment. Can range from $3 to $10per month per pet.

Wait List Charge: An amount that needs to be given to the apartment to lock your request. For some popular apartments there are wait-list charges (token money) that you have to deposit. It is a non-refundable amount, but for certain apartments.

Booking Charges: The total cost that you end up paying at the time of booking stacks up as follows: Deposit + Application Fee (per person) + Admin Fee + Pet Charges (per pet). In certain cases the apartment may also ask for the first month’s rent.

Social Security Number (SSN): If you are a US resident you need to have a Social Security number to get an apartment on rent. SSN is linked to your credit history report which is

Credit Score:It is a number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness based on past financial history. If you have an impressive credit score the amount for deposit significantly decreases. Some apartments may have a minimum threshold credit score to make you an eligible renter.

Number of Tenants: The max number of people who can stay in an apartment is mostly mentioned in the apartment guidelines. Generally, 2 students are allowed per room (1b — max. 2 students, 2b — max. 4 students) in the apartment. Often, to save rental costs, students accommodate guests for permanent basis without informing the apartment management. This is not advised and may lead to cancellation of your lease agreement. However, you can accommodate guests for temporary basis without any issues.

Lease Duration: In formal leasing agreements, rental periods typically break down accordingly:

  • One-year lease
  • Six-month lease
  • Three-month lease
  • Month-to-month lease

Usually a longer leasing period will significantly drop your monthly rent amount. Abandoning a lease can mean serious financial and legal consequences.

Guarantor: In certain cases, the landlord/housing management may require a lease guarantor which acts as a third party to help provide security in terms of the rental. You can get concession in deposits if you have a guarantor.

Lock-In Period: A minimum fixed amount of time before which if the rental agreement is broken, then the tenant won’t get refunds on deposit. The lock-in period varies and is mentioned clearly in the lease agreement.

Agreement Document Requirements: Following are the documents required to process the rental agreement:

  • i20 (mandatory)
  • Passport (mandatory)
  • Visa (mandatory)
  • Bank Statement (in certain cases)
  • Credit Score (in certain cases)

The agreement needs to be attested (digitally signed or hand-signed soft copy) along with the verification documents for each of the boarders mentioned on the lease agreement.

Rent and Utility Pricing

  • For 1 bed 1 bath — $1500-$2200
  • For 2 bed 2 bath — $2000-$3000
  • For 3 bed (2 or 3 bath) — $2500-$3700
  • Studio — $1200–$2000
  • Deposit Range —$300-One Month’s Rent

Utility, Water and Gas bills are exclusive. Here are the average costs of some of the expenses:

Popular Apartments

(links here are clickable)

You can browse more accommodations in and surrounding areas via this link: Click Here

How AmberStudent will help you

AmberStudent provides you with free of cost assistance for apartment search near Boston and makes your renting experience easy. The representatives help you find the perfect apartment as per your preferences. With over 100+ apartments around University of Boston and Harvard Medical School, you can find the apartment of your choice at affordable prices.