Top 10 Things Students Need To Know

Top 10 Things Students Need To Know (printable)

  • 1. Legal & Illegal Fees

    When you move into an apartment, a landlord can charge you the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, a security deposit, and a lock fee. A landlord can’t charge you any other fees such as a holding fee or a pet fee. A landlord also can’t charge you a broker’s/finder’s fee, unless s/he is a licensed realtor.
  • 2. Roommates

    If one of your roommates moves out, you may still be responsible for paying his portion of the rent until you find a new one. It is a violation of the Boston Zoning Code for 5 or more full-time undergraduate college students to share an apartment in Boston.

  • 3. Leases & Tenancies-At-Will

    If a landlord offers you a lease, read it carefully before signing it. Leases, which typically run for one year, are binding legal contracts. Tenancies-at-will run from month to month, but offer you less security against rent increases and evictions.
  • 4. Renter's Insurance

    You have probably invested more in personal property than you realize. Computers, stereos, TVs, clothing, jewelry, and furniture would be expensive to replace in case of fire or theft. Renters insurance is a good idea and can be surprisingly affordable. Don’t assume that your landlord or your parents’ insurance will cover your belongings.
  • 5. Registration and Inspections

    Landlords must register their rental units with the city’s Inspectional Services Department and post their contact information in the building.  Rental units, except for those in 1-to-6 unit owner-occupied dwellings and public property, must be inspected at least once every five years to ensure that they are in compliance with the State Sanitary Code.

  • 6. Code Violations

    You are entitled to an apartment that is in compliance with local and state sanitary and building codes. Violations should be reported to your landlord in writing. If s/he does not make the necessary repairs, contact the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department's Housing Division at 617-635-5300, Online Services, or the Citizens Connect mobile app.
  • 7. Condition of Apartment

    Before entering into a rental agreement, check out the condition of the apartment. If you can’t, have a friend do it for you. You do not want to be charged for damages that existed when you moved in. It is recommend that you take photos of the entire apartment and make two copies. Keep one set and send copy to landlord.
  • 8. Security Deposit & Last Month's Rent

    Your landlord can legally require you to pay a security deposit and the last month’s rent in amounts equivalent to one month’s rent for each. If your landlord collects them, he must, among other things, give proper receipts, pay interest on an annual basis, and in the case of the security deposit, put the money in a separate account in a bank located in Massachusetts.
  • 9. Noise

    Be considerate of your neighbors. Having loud parties late at night or cranking up the music may lead to complaints and eventually to eviction.
  • 10. Mediation

    If you and your landlord have a dispute that you can’t resolve between yourselves, you should consider mediation. Mediation is an informal process in which you and your landlord can try to reach a resolution with the help of an impartial mediator. For information about free mediation services offered by the Boston Rental Housing Center (BRHC) call 617-635-RENT (4200).