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Searching for Housing in Massachusetts

The information below is to help international students and scholars understand the process for finding housing. Housing is usually not guaranteed but is up to each person to find. However, finding adequate and reasonably-priced housing, especially in the Greater Boston area (including Boston, Medford, and Somerville) can be very challenging due to high demand and limited supply.

Student Housing: Undergraduate students are normally required to live on-campus for the first two years of study (exception: SMFA BFA students have a one year live-on requirement) and move off-campus for the final two years. Graduate students, with the exception of limited school-specific options, usually live off-campus for the entirety of their programs.

On-Campus Housing Information

Off-Campus Housing

Finding housing, especially in the Greater Boston area, is one of the most challenging features of moving to the Boston area. The supply of affordable and conveniently located housing is very limited. The Boston area is home to numerous colleges and universities; as a result, there is a large student population seeking housing within a small geographic area.

Tips for First-Time Searchers

If you are new to searching for housing in the US, here are some important things to keep in mind

  • Housing laws and regulations in the US are typically set at the local level, by each town or city; there are few national or federal laws that apply to how you would find housing
  • Each town / city also establishes the rights you have as a tenant in the event that you experience problems with your landlord or your apartment
  • The supply of apartments, and rental rates, may depend on the time of year - many people search for housing during late spring and summer for August or September move-in dates; while rents are cheaper during the winter, the supply may be more limited
  • The most competitive apartments will be located near public transportation to allow for faster commutes to school and work
  • The cost of renting an apartment will typically include the monthly rent, security deposits (usually a month's rent that is returned to you after you move out); in certain building you may be billed separately for parking as well water, trash, and sewer
  • Utilities (gas and electricity) are usually paid for separately, as are amenities such as cable television

Once you have decided to come to Tufts, it is important to start researching off-campus housing options early - do not expect to find housing upon arrival. The following are additional suggestions to help you in your move to Tufts:

  1. If possible, visit Boston ahead of time to conduct an off-campus housing search. It is always better to see apartments in person rather than over the internet. If you cannot come for a housing visit, plan on arriving in the Boston early and staying at a short-term accommodation such as a hostel or short-term apartment while you look for housing. If you are coming with family, we recommend if possible that family members remain behind until you have found a suitable place.
  2. Understand housing terms and typical apartment rental requirements. Securing an apartment can involve up-front costs, such as application fees and security deposits. You may also be asked to pay the first and last month up front - however, you should never be asked to pay for the entire rental period up front.
  3. Consider travel times to school or campus. Affordable housing options may require a longer commute. While researching options, consider the distance and expected travel times from your house or apartment to school using either personal or public transportation. Also consider how many times a week you will need to come to campus.
  4. Network and ask for advice. If you know people - friends, relatives, and classmates - in the Boston area, draw on them for personal advice and experience. Also, many of Tufts's schools have arranged their own housing search resources for their incoming students, scholars, and employees. Networking and learning from other students by word-of-mouth are often the most helpful resources.
  5. Beware of apartment scams. Unfortunately, apartment scams are a frequent occurrence in housing searches; these typically involve online ads for apartments that seem unusually ideal and affordable, but are in fact being advertised under false pretenses. If an apartment is "too good to be true" it may be a scam! Educate yourself to learn how to identify an apartment scam.

Below are a variety of resources to help you in your off-campus housing search.

Off-Campus Housing Information