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Off-Campus Student Services

Beginning Your Apartment Search

  1. View the “Starting Your Off-Campus Apartment Search” video on the front page of of the OCSS website. It offers great advice and resources for starting your search for off-campus housing.
  2. Review the Office’s Services and Support section to view apartment workshop offerings and events, view apartment listings, post an apartment listing, and  find potential roommates. You will also find information on enrolling in the MBTA Semester T-pass program.
  3. Review the Renter Information resources page to begin planning your search and estimating living expenses, for information on areas of Boston popular with Emerson students, and for basic information on agreements and leases.
  4. Review the Local Resources page for moving and storage providers, realtors, places to stay while you search for housing, helpful phone numbers, and a safety checklist for your apartment and neighborhood.
  5. Establish a room and board budget. Most leases will require a 12-month contract (as opposed to an academic year term). Your budget should take into account rent, food, utilities, and transportation. Establishing a budget for yourself and itemizing your expenses will be key to managing your spending and your bank account. Do you already own or will you need to purchase furniture for your new apartment? If you are traveling quite a distance, you may want to think about a furnished apartment so you do not have to worry about securing large pieces of furniture. Will you want to live by yourself or with others? What amenities do you require in your apartment? All of these will affect your budget.
  6. Assemble your necessary documentation before you start searching for apartments. Start gathering these documents 3 to 4 months before you start searching for apartments, as some of them may take a while to secure. International students typically are required to provide the following to lease an apartment:
  • Copy of your Passport
  • I-20 (once you have been accepted to the College and submitted your deposit and Financial Aid documents, I-20’s are issued by the Admission Office and are valid for 30 days from the start date of orientation). For more information visit: Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students.
  • Guarantor or Co-Signor Form. This form is provided by the realtor/property owner. This form indicates that the person who has filled out this form is financially responsible for payment during the entire leasing period, unless you are able to formally negotiate breaking your lease with your landlord or property management company. Landlords typically require that the co-signor reside in the United States and not overseas.

7. Research neighborhoods and apartments. Where in the Boston area do you want to live? If you are unfamiliar with Boston, it may help to find an apartment as close to the Emerson campus as possible. The website walkscore.com can be helpful in determining a neighborhood’s proximity to grocery stores, retail shops, and public transportation within walking distance of your new apartment.

View the Tackboard at eCommon to view apartment listings posted by other Emersonians, and check the Apartment Listing board for posts by external realtors and landlords. Keep reviewing the apartment listings on our website on a regular basis, as apartments are constantly added and removed. From February to early September, apartments will continue to be added for the Fall semester. Both sites will require your EC login credentials.

8. Sign your lease and move in! Review the resources listed for information on type of leases, terms and provisions of leases, utilities, information to review as you look over your lease agreement, check for objectionable clauses, and learn the exact responsibilities of your landlord in any given circumstance.