Resources

Find information about living Off-Campus and browse through our collection of resources.

RentSmart Boston

  • RentSmart

    RentSmart compiles data from ISD and 311 to give renters access to property violations, maintenance requests that provides prospective renters and homeowners with data about Boston's properties. Developed through a collaboration between the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development and the Department of Innovation and Technology, RentSmart Boston compiles data from BOS: 311 and the City's Inspectional Services Division to give prospective tenants a more complete picture of the homes and apartments they are considering renting.

  • Massachusetts Tenants Rights & Responsibilities

    Resources from the Commonwealth on Renter’s Rights and responsibilities

Sample Forms & Documents

  • Rental Application

    A rental application is the key screening document that landlords give to prospective tenants. It covers a wide range of information, including the applicant’s employment, income, and credit; rental history; references from landlords, employers, and others; identifying information, such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers; past evictions, criminal convictions, bankruptcies; and more.

  • Fixed Term Lease Example

    Many landlords require tenants to sign a written lease. Remember that the lease is a contract which, once signed, legally binds both parties to the terms of the lease. Before signing the lease, read it and make sure that you understand everything. Leases are often written in confusing language. Have your landlord or an appropriate advisory agent explain everything that you do not understand. Make sure that your lease protects your interests, not just the landlord's. Try to delete or modify clauses that are a disadvantage to you. Since many landlords now require student's parents to co-sign the lease, you should encourage your parents to thoroughly review the lease as well.

  • Tenant-At-Will Lease Example

    A tenancy agreement where a tenant occupies property with the consent of the owner, but without an agreement that specifies a definite rental period or the regular payment of rent. Tenancy at will is also known as estate at will.

  • Move-In Checklist

    The checklist describes the condition of the property as a whole and of each room in detail. As the tenant, you should inspect the checklist and make any changes before you sign and date it. The move-in checklist is important as it allows you to compare the condition of the property to the property’s condition when you move out. Our office also recommends you take time-stamped photos of the apartment at upon move in and move out.

  • Roommate Agreement

    A roommate agreement takes a preventive approach toward any potential problems that might happen between you and your roommate during the year. Instead of waiting for conflicts to arise, a roommate contract helps roommates figure out what each roommate wants and needs so that conflicts don't arise in the first place. Most roommate contracts are not legally binding but are meant more as a guideline for the living space you and your roommate will share.

  • Sublease/Sublet Agreement

    Check with your landlord as to his/her requirements or procedures before subletting and check you lease to be sure that you are allowed to sublet. Unless otherwise instructed, make sure that you sign a sublet agreement. This ensures that the sub lessee is obligated to you. You are still obligated to your landlord, so if the sub lessee does not pay, you will be expected to! Remember: You remain liable for all obligations until your sublettor(s)' leave. Try to get as much rent up front as possible, as well as a security deposit to cover possible damages. The landlord has the right to approve any sub lessee, however, his or her approval must be based on a financial assessment, not any discriminatory factors. Some landlords charge a fee to allow their tenants to sublet, this is legal.

Tenant Resources

  • Security Deposits 101

    Unless you owe rent or the landlord claims you have damaged the apartment, he/she must return your deposit within 30 days after your tenancy ends. If the landlord claims damages, he/she must send you an itemized list of them within 30 days and return any part of the deposit not needed to cover repairs. He/she cannot deduct for "reasonable wear and tear." If the landlord does not contact you regarding the security deposit within the 30-day period (give or take a few days), you are entitled to the full deposit back. You can take your landlord to small claims court and sue for up to three times the amount of the deposit

  • Housing Code Checklist

    In Massachusetts, the state Sanitary Code is the main law that gives tenants a right to decent housing. All rental housing must at least meet the state Sanitary Code. The Housing Code Checklist will help you protect your right to safe and decent housing.

  • Rights & Responsibilities

    As a tenant you have both rights and responsibilities. Be sure you know what's expected of you - and what you can expect in return.

  • Renters Insurance

    Renter's Insurance can provide protection against the loss of personal property and give you peace of mind at the same time. You will want to weigh the costs and benefits of Renter's Insurance for your particular situation. Rates and coverage will vary widely from company to company.

Local Utilities

  • Local Utility Companies

    When you move into an apartment, you will need to have the utilities (electricity, gas, water, waste removal, and cable) turned on in your name. Your city or county government may handle some services, such as water, sewer, and garbage collection. If you live in an apartment or are leasing a house from a homeowner, the landlord may handle this for you, but that is not required. If you request service, provide as much advance notice to the utility company as you can, at least one week in advance of the date you need service to start.

Transportation

  • Mount Ida Shuttle Bus

    Mount Ida Shuttle Bus schedule providing transportation to Newton Center and Chestnut Hill Square.

  • Mount Ida College ZipCar Car Sharing Program

    Dive cars by the hour or day. Gas and insurance are included.  Vehicles available on campus, and in neighborhoods and airports across the globe.  Save hundreds over car ownership. Choose from sedans, hybrids, vans and more.  Take select flexible vehicles one-way or round trip.

  • MBTA

    MBTA makes riding the T easier with rider tools, schedules/maps, fares and passes information, and anything you need to know about the T.

Newton Neighborhood Resources

  • Newton Fair Housing Committee

    The Committee’s mission is to promote and support the City of Newton’s efforts to be a diverse and welcoming community with housing choices and opportunities free from housing discrimination.  Acting in advisory capacity to the Mayor, the Board of Aldermen, and all applicable City departments, boards and committees, the Committee aims to assure that policies and practices relating to fair housing are interwoven into the operations and activities of the City as well as the fabric of the community. As part of the mission, the Committee assists the City in meeting its duties to affirmatively further fair housing with Newton.

  • Newton 311

    Connecting residents to city services: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Newton Inspectional Services Department

    Inspectional Services Department (ISD) is responsible for insuring that buildings are constructed safely and used properly.  ISD enforces the provisions of the state building code, city zoning ordinance (Chapter 30- Zoning Ordinance), and other applicable ordinances.  ISD issues permits to allow the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, and demolition of buildings, structures and land.

Boston Neighborhood Resources

  • No More Than Four Zoning Ordinance

    While up to four full-time undergraduate college students may live together in a dwelling unit in Boston, it is not permissible for five or more full-time undergraduate college students to do so. For more detailed information, call the Department of Neighborhood Development's Boston Rental Housing Center at 617-635-RENT (or 4200).

  • Boston 311

    Connecting residents to city services: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Boston Inspectional Services Department

    The Boston Inspectional Services Department is responsible for administering and enforcing building, housing, health, sanitation, and safety regulations mandated by City and State governments. If you have concerns about the quality of your off-campus housing, please notify your local Inspectional Services Department of the issue and request an inspection.

Safety Resources

  • Fire Safety

    For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in middle school. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives including safety tips along with smoke alarms and sprinklers.

  • Internet Fraud

    Although this website is relatively secure, we advise all users to learn the danger signs of Internet fraud. If you are a victim or attempted victim of Internet fraud, please report the scam to police and university officials immediately so law enforcement authorities can shut the fraudulent operations down.

  • Massachusetts Lead Law

    The Lead Law requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any children under six live. Owners are responsible with complying with the law. This includes owners of rental property as well as owners living in their own single family home.

Short-Term Accommodations & Alternative Housing Options

  • 9flats

    Less expensive alternative to hotels, privately owned short-term stays

  • Airbnb

    Privately owned short-term rentals, some rent by the night, the week, or the month – hundreds of cities across the world, including Boston

  • FlipKey

    Privately owned short-term rentals, mentioned by Travel and Leisure magazine as “top vacation rental site” two years in a row

  • FurnishedQuarters

    Short-term, fully furnished and serviced apartments for those needing accommodations for thirty-days or more within walking distance of Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton/Boston.

  • The Inn at Longwood Medical

    Hotel-style accommodations, with the option for apartments and suites, as well as long-term stays.

  • Oakwood Temporary Housing

    Fully furnished, short-term temporary housing options

  • Our Home Boston

    Arranges affordable, high quality 1-9 months homestays in Boston and Boston’s suburbs for graduate students, research scholars and fellows, medical doctors, and ESL students.

  • Bayridge Residence

    An independent student residence and cultural center situated in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. The dorm-like facility houses nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate women from more than a dozen schools in the area.

  • Nesterly

    A new program that pairs local homeowners who have spare space with graduate students willing to exchange help around the house for cheaper rent.