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Off-Campus Housing

Resources

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

Off-Campus Living Blog

Sample Forms & Documents

  • 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.
  • 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 the 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 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 sublessee is obligated to you. You are still obligated to your landlord, so if the sublessee 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 sublessee, 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
    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
  • Rental Cost Comparison

    This rental cost comparison information contains approximate ranges and averages of rent based on location and apartment style. Information was gathered from internal Boston College listings, local area postings, and a student survey. Money to which the landlord is entitled in advance of occupancy are limited by law to first and last month's rent, a security deposit, and a charge for purchase and installation of a lock and key. The amount of the security deposit and/or the last month's rent cannot be greater than the first month's rent. Rental agents typically charge one full month's rent commission fee. This fee is collected after all rental arrangements have been finalized. It is wise to negotiate and compare fees with the various agents.

  • 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.
  • Submit or Update Your Local (Off-Campus) Address

    All full time undergraduate students are required to submit their local (off-campus) address on the Agora Portal. 

  • Renter's Guide to Safety and Security
    The "Renter's Guide to Safety and Security" by ADT will help students keep safety and security threats at bay. The guide includes many security tips and resources off-campus students should keep in mind while renting.
  • 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 a 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.
  • Local Utilities Help Services

    Quickly and easily find the right Broadband, DSL, Cable Internet, or Satellite Internet provider for your home or business.

Transportation

  • BC Shuttle Bus
    Convenient free bus service is available around Main Campus, off-campus, and to and from the Newton Campus.
  • BC Parking & Transportation
    Transportation and Parking Services offers the Boston College community a single location for all transportation and parking information. Students, faculty, staff and visitors will find information on Boston College parking rules and regulations, inter-campus transportation, commuting aids, maps, directions, and a host of links to the greater Boston area.
  • Off-Campus Parking
    There are several private/commercial lots located in Boston; however, these lots are not affiliated with Boston College.
  • 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.
  • Zipcars
    As part of BC's overall efforts to offer the community alternatives to driving to work or class, the University is proud to collaborate with Zipcar.

City/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).
  • Neighborhood Descriptions
    While living in the off-campus community, we encourage you to think of yourself not only as a student at Boston College, but also as a member of the local community. Much as you are a member of a community in your hometown, there are similar expectations from your neighbors here.
  • Mayor's Constituent Service
    Connecting residents to city services: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Student Guide to City Services
    Boston is one of the world’s greatest hubs of higher education, and students are a vital part of our community. As you learn and grow, make Boston a part of who you are. Join in Boston's proud tradition of civic engagement by learning about local issues, volunteering your time and talent, and registering to vote.
  • Boston Department of Neighborhood Development
    The mission of the Department of Neighborhood Development is to make Boston the most livable city in the nation.
  • Rental Inspection Program
    When you move into your apartment, it must minimally meet a standard of cleanliness and safety and must be inspected within 45 days of tenancy to ensure that it meets all city codes. Inspections are conducted by the Inspectional Services Department of the City of Boston. When you pick up your keys, ask the landlord if an inspection has been scheduled. Inspectional Services can be contacted at: 617-635-5322 or ISDhousing@cityofboston.gov.

Legal Assistance

  • Lawyers for Affordable Justice

    Lawyers for Affordable Justice is an initiative by Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law to help their graduates start successful solo practices that serve low to moderate income clients in the Boston area.

  • Mass Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service

    The Massachusetts Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service is one of the largest legal referral services in the nation, which makes it easy to connect you to the right lawyer in your area.

Safety Resources

  • Boston Police Department (District 14)
    301 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135. Phone: 617-343-4260.
  • Newton Police Department
    1321 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02465. Phone: 617-796-2100.
  • Brookline Police Department
    350 Washington Street, Brookline, MA 02445. Phone: 617-730-2222.
  • Watertown Police Department
    552 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Phone: 617-972-6500.
  • Boston College Police Department
    BCPD officers are granted police authority from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which allows them the same authority and powers as local or state police in or upon the lands and structures owned, used, or occupied by the University. Additionally, Boston College police officers have deputy sheriff powers for use in off-campus situations. BCPD is located in Maloney Hall at 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. For business call 617-552-4440, for emergencies call 617-552-4444.
  • Community Assistance Program (CAP)
    The Community Assistance Program (CAP) is run by the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs and the Dean of Students Office. The purpose of CAP is to enhance the relationship between the wider community and Boston College’s on and off-campus students. The Off Campus Student Community Liaison leads the CAP by responding to concerns and complaints in the community to help maintain a safe, respectful neighborhood.
  • Eagle Escort
    The BC Eagle Escort service is provided as a safety resource to the BC community. Eagle Escort can be reached at (617) 552-8888. This service is available 24 hours a day and is provided to individuals who are concerned for their personal safety while traveling in and around campus. It is provided as a public safety service and is not intended as a substitute for public transportation, the BC shuttle or local taxi services.
  • Social Host Liability
    If you are hosting events where alcohol is served, you may be held responsible for the actions of your party-goers even after they leave your home. Massachusetts law states that hosts can be held responsible for damage caused by those to whom they served alcohol.
  • 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.
  • Massachuetts 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.

Stay Connected

  • Events in Boston
    From historical attractions to museums to sporting events to its lively restaurant scene and nightlife, Boston offers a bit of everything for everyone. Explore what Boston has to offer!
  • Off-Campus Housing Events
    In an effort to help students make a successful transition and integration from campus to the local community, our office develops programming and outreach initiatives designed to advise students on issues related to rental policies, roommate and landlord concerns, rights and civic responsibilities as neighborhood residents, as well as how to develop positive relationships in the community.
  • Student Newspaper
    Established in 1919, The Heights serves as the independent student newspaper of Boston College.