Once you review and decide on an apartment, it's time to review and understand all the lease documents and fees required!
Application - The application will be given to you by the realtor or property owner and asks for information such as your name, address, and school information. The application should also list a fee schedule for what you are being asked to pay when you sign the lease, including application fee, first month's rent, last month's rent, security deposit, etc. IMPORTANT #1: Do not complete the application or pay an application fee until you review and understand the application, the lease and the addendum! Some applications have a non-refundable clause, so understand your lease before you complete the application. IMPORTANT #2: Only realtors can charge an application fee. Property owners and management companies can not.
Lease - The lease provides a thorough account of the renter's responsibilities while living in the apartment, and must include landlord information, all tenants names, address of the apartment, monthly rent, start and end date of lease, any utilities included, and maintenance contact information. All parties including the tenants and the landlord must sign the lease for it to be valid.
Addendum- The addendum is a section of clauses written by the landlord. The addendum will have specific rules and obligations set by the landlord that each tenant on the lease must abide by, including subletting, cleaning, fees, etc. IMPORTANT #3: Look out for any illegal sounding fees or ambiguous language. You have the right to not sign if you don't agree with it. Ask OCHSS Lease Genius for a review and help!
IMPORTANT #4: Make sure to read everything you receive carefully. Our office is happy to review your application, lease and addendum and answer any of your questions. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call at 617-373-8480 or join us for drop-in hours on Zoom!
February 10th (virtual), 9am-1pm EST
Starting your apartment search? Start with the Apartment Fair! We will have information sessions in the morning followed by live chat options with realtors and property managers from 11am-1pm, available apartment listings and 3D tours, and OCHSS staff and students to answer your questions live. Register and attend for a chance to win prizes!! Register here.
Dear Off Campus,
I recently learned broker fees are equal to one month's rent in Boston! Is this negotiable? Do I have to use a broker or are there more affordable ways to find an apartment?
Too Broke for a Broker
Dear Too Broke for a Broker,
It’s very common to see broker fees equal one month’s rent as this is the industry standard in Boston. You have the right to try to negotiate the broker fee. Landlords may be more willing to negotiate during COVID in order to secure tenants. It's important to know that only a broker can charge a broker fee, so search for listings on our Housing Database that are listed by private owner! You can also look for listings posted by other students that happen to be moving out and ending their lease - these are called sublet listings. Brokers can be more convenient to work with as they will have a range of listings, but if you dig on your own via our Housing Database and other online sites you can find apartments that are affordable without the fees.
Boston Pizza Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday through March
11am & 2pm Tours
Walk, Learn, Eat ....and repeat! Boston Pizza Tours winter weekends tour schedule. Enjoy 3 different pizza slices, water and a cannoli, plus see 5 Freedom Trail sites. Small groups with your roommates are recommended!
Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0
Jan 15 - Mar 14
Check out the Seaport's newest, interactive art installation! 16 three-dimensional red house frames, creates a moment to reflect on the meaning of home and offers a canvas for play and engagement!
Lunch is on A.R.T. this month!
Tuesdays at 12pm ET
Join the American Repertory Theater at The Lunch Room, a virtual talk show with the artists, activists, and civic leaders who are shaping culture and communities. In the coming weeks topics will include public health, teen angst, a vibrant vision for Boston arts scene, and more. Free and open access!