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Student Housing Boston | Five Steps You Need to Take Before Renting

June 25, 2012

So you're one of the maybe ten million college students living in Boston this year, and you're looking to change it up a bit. You wanna break away from the mold. Be your own man. You want to be an independent college student finding your own Boston student housing.

Maybe not that independent. Regardless, here's 5 VERY important steps to take before you decide to rush out there and rent the first apartment you see. Don't mess this up. With these tips, you could save thousands on student housing in Boston.

1. Check Your School Off Campus Listings

Oftentimes, finding good student housing off campus is quite a bit easier than having to do it all yourself. Most schools will offer a private listing site for Boston students, affiliated faculty, and workers to room together or rent apartments from each other, often at a very discounted price. On top of that, they're generally easier to rent, in safer areas, and almost always nearby campus, a must for the always late college student.

For your convenience, here's the off-campus housing links for some of the major universities in Boston. We included Cambridge too, in the hopes that some MIT students would possibly move off campus and engage in meaningful social interaction for once.

2. Read A Personal Letter from the Mayor of Boston

The mayor, Thomas Menino, has a personal message for you! Beyond the usual drivel about congratulating you for choosing Boston, the most diverse and beautiful of all college towns, there's some actual useful info about whom to contact in case of housing issues, cable and internet connections, and transportation. Check it out for the specifics of renting an apartment in Boston.

3. Check for Student Subsidies and Subsidized Loans

This varies widely by school, so I'm not inclined to make any sweeping statements here. However, occasionally some universities will offer subsidies for students attempting to find off-campus housing, which can cover anywhere from a dollar to half the renting price. More often, universities (and the government) will offer Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, which is a fancy way of saying loans with low interest rates. Using these to help cover the costs of student housing in Boston can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, which, if you remember your macroeconomics, can lead to increased consumption, GDP, and the overall benefit of the entire nation. Do it for Americuh.

The first Google result for "Americuh." Can't say I'm surprised.

4. Know Your Legal Apartment Fees

Don't get cheated into paying too much for your student housing. There are a limited amount of things your landlord can charge you when you first rent your apartment, and if they attempt to get more out of you, they're trying to make a quick buck. In no particular order, the legal fees when you move in can be:

  • A security deposit
  • A lock fee
  • A re-inspection fee
  • The first month's rent
  • The last month's rent
The landlord cannot charge you a broker's fee (unless he is a realtor), or a pet or holding fee. Don't believe his lies.

5. Consider Getting Renter's Insurance

Before you get your own place, check whether your landlord's or your parent's insurance plans cover your new apartment and your stuff inside it. Depending on who the apartment is registered to, it's not guaranteed your belongings will be covered! If your new apartment isn't insured, you may want to search for renter's insurance, which can be very affordable for students. Or, you can wing it, and feel shit out of luck after your crazy new roommate ditches with your Xbox and Macbook Pro.

That's it. You're ready to go out into the real world and rent some apartments. Good luck!