When moving off campus it is important to consider your budget. How much money do you have to spend on rent, utilities (often not included), cable, internet, food, transportation, etc.? Students often live with roommates in order to reduce living expenses. See videos describing one time and monthly living expenses at the bottom of the page. View our Budgeting for Living Off Campus.
You must also consider the upfront cost to rent an apartment. There are generally four fees you will need to pay when you sign a lease: first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposit, and realtor’s fee.
Know This! A realtor can ask for a deposit (first month’s rent) at the time of application. However, do not make any more payments until you have read, agreed to, and signed the lease.
It is common for realtors and landlords to require a student tenant to have a co-signer. A co-signer is someone that can pay rent, should you not fulfill your payment responsibility. Co-signers are often parents or families members. International students may be able to use visa documentation to waive this requirement (see our International Students page).
A security deposit is collected at the time a lease is signed to cover any damages that may be incurred during tenancy or if rent is owed at the end of tenancy. The security deposit cannot exceed one month’s rent. If there are no damages at the end of tenancy, 100% of the security deposit, plus interest, is returned to the tenant. For more information see the Guide to Living Off Campus, p.14.
Know This! Avoid unreasonable or false deductions by completing the Apartment Condition Checklist within the first 15 days of tenancy. Give the landlord a copy as a record of needed repairs and pre-existing conditions. Take photos of every room, including floors and walls, before moving in and after moving out as further record of the apartment condition.
Realtor (Broker) Fee
A realtor fee is collected at the time a lease is signed as payment to the realtor or broker. Most realtors in Boston charge a realtor fee which is usually paid by the tenant.
Know This! The realtor fee cannot be more than the cost of one month’s rent. A realtor or landlord cannot charge other fees on top of a realtor fee, such as application fee, pet fee, etc. Read more about illegal fees here.
Financial Aid for Off-Campus Expenses
Students may be able to use financial aid, scholarship funds, and/or loans to subsidize the cost of living off campus. It will be important to know the amount available for living expenses, and when the funds will be available to you. If you have questions about how financial aid and scholarship funds can be used for off-campus expenses, please speak directly with your financial aid counselor in Student Financial Services.
Apartment Cost Range Comparison
Most units are listed as unheated; furnishings are generally not included. Prices may change based on the number of occupants.