As international students, finding housing in a new country may seem hard.  Off Campus Student Services is here to help guide you through the process. Download or print our International Student brochure to take with you or share with friends who are searching for apartments.

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International Students, start here!

  • What type of apartment are you looking for? There are studio, 1 bedroom, and multi-bedroom apartments. Most apartments are unfurnished, but you may rent or buy furniture. There are also temporary apartments, guest houses, and homestays that cater to international students and are often furnished. As well as nesterly, a new program that pairs local homeowners with a spare room with graduate students willing to exchange help around the house such as walking the dog or helping with groceries for cheaper rent.
  • How long do you want to stay? Most leases in Boston are for 12 months. You cannot leave the apartment without paying every month’s rent, or finding someone to sublet your room.
  • Do you want to live with roommates? Many new students find that living with others makes the transition to Boston and a new culture much easier.
  • Where in Boston do you want to live?  Learn more about Boston’s neighborhoods. Most students live within 1.5 miles of campus.
  • Are you looking for an apartment close to transportation? Find bus and subway routes at or use Google Maps for biking, walking and transit routes.
  • How much do you want to spend? See the average monthly rental costs by neighborhood and additional costs to expect here.

Your Apartment Search

  • Follow Steps to Finding an Apartment. Use your Husky email address to create an account on the Housing Database.
  • How to Use the Housing Database: 
    • Browse property listings, find roommates, and create a roommate profile so students may contact you too.roommate profile
    • Find an apartment that is right for you! Use the filters to search by neighborhood, number of rooms, monthly rent, and more.
    • When you find an apartment you’re interested in, contact the realty company via the telephone number or email address provided on the listing.
    • Visit apartments in person. It is recommended that you visit, or have someone you know locally, visit several apartments so you can compare them and know your options.
    • Decide which apartment you want and get a lease from the realtor. Make sure you read and understand the lease before you sign it.
    • You will need to provide documentation. The realtor wants to know that you are able to pay for an apartment and will ask for information on a rental application. You may use your I-20 or DS-2019 to show funding instead of a social security number.
    • No more than 4 undergraduate students may reside together to avoid unsafe conditions and overcrowding.


Questions to Ask Your Realtor or Landlord

  • Who should I contact if there is a problem?
  • Where should I send my rent checks?
  • Are any utilities in included in the rent?
  • Are there special rules or additional charges? (If so, get them in writing!)
  • Is there anything I can’t have in the apartment?
  • If I need to sublet, will that be allowed? Is there a fee to sublet?
  • View additional questions to ask when viewing apartments here. 


Understanding the Lease and Broker Fee

Understand the lease before you sign it. Do not sign a lease unless you have fully read and understood it.

  • Send your lease to Off Campus Student Services – our Lease Genius experts will review it!
  • Your lease defines what you can and cannot do while living in your apartment.
  • All tenant names must be on the lease. If your name is not on the lease, you are not protected.
  • Violating the terms of the lease can lead to serious consequences.
  • Never pay rent in cash! Pay by check or money order and keep receipts of all payments.
  • Obtain a copy of your lease after you sign it.
  • Working with a realtor often requires an extra fee, which is usually equivalent to one month’s rent. This is called the realtor or broker fee.


Avoid Scams

Internet web sites and other third party rental resources are great for searching for roommates, apartments, and subletting. However, this is no guaranteee they are free from scams. Be cautious when completing transactions with prospective roommates, tenants, landlords, etc. Learn about common scam techniques and avoid becoming a victim. Here are some guidelines to help keep you scam free.

  • – Use Northeastern’s Off-Campus Housing Database.
  • – Deal locally with people you can meet in person.
  • – Never rent a place you can’t view in advance.
  • – Never wire funds via Western Union or MoneyGram.
  • – Never make payments in the form of cash.
  • – Never give out financial or personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, or credit card information.
  • – Be mindful of fraudulent checks and money orders.
  • – Keep in mind, if it feels wrong – it probably is!

Know Your Rights & Responsibilities as a Renter!

You have rights and responsibilities as a renter in Boston. Your landlord also have rights and responsibilities that must be upheld. Read about your rights here.

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Frequently Asked Questions