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Common Types of Living Arrangements

off-campus housing and student life


Before signing a lease: Do not give a "deposit" to a landlord or rental agent unless you are sure you want the apartment. It may not be refundable.

If the accommodation you are seeking is in an apartment building, the heating cost will probably be included in the rent. Each group of tenants in a two- or three-family house rental will usually pay their own fuel costs and sometimes their own hot water. These can often be very high during the cold winter months. Consider these unheated accommodations carefully since the rental price does not represent your total cost. Other utilities, such as cooking gas and electricity, may also be extra and are usually a minimal expense.

Generally, apartments in buildings will be equipped with a stove and a refrigerator, but some house rentals may have only a stove. Almost all apartments will be unfurnished, and those that are furnished tend to be very expensive.

Rents in Boston are generally very high, averaging $1300/month for a studio apartment, $1,600/month for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,800/month for a two-bedroom apartment, $2,600/month for a three-bedroom apartment, and $3,000/month for a four-bedroom apartment. Because of the scarcity of available quality apartments, the physical condition of many facilities is sometimes neglected and should be inspected carefully.

Rooms in a Private Home

Since Boston College is located in a predominantly residential area, many homeowners in the vicinity rent either private bedrooms or rooms to share for students. Room rentals average $750–900/month, including utilities. The rooms are furnished, and kitchen privileges are often available. Students living off campus may purchase the University meal plan.

Living in a private home often tends to be restrictive. The homeowner, in most cases, will not allow the student to have overnight guests and will rarely allow guests of the opposite sex to visit. Telephone use is often limited. A few homes are more liberal, but they are usually homes that accept more students who, with the homeowner, establish rules that everyone agrees upon.

It is very important that you discuss all restrictions before moving in. Also, ask about the heating in the bedroom, since the high cost of fuel has caused many homeowners to keep thermostats at low settings. Check the law!

Although a lease is seldom required, some homeowners ask for a deposit equal to one month's rent to be used as the last month's rent. If you leave before the end of the academic year, this deposit is usually forfeited. Should there be any question about your leaving before the end of the academic year, it is suggested that you do not rent a room in a private home, unless prior arrangements are agreed upon with the homeowner.

Free Room and Board in Exchange for Services

Situations are available in which a student may perform certain household services such as babysitting children, or companionship and light care for someone elderly, in exchange for free room and/or board. Families offering rooms in this category will not accept a student unless the student agrees to stay for the full academic year.

Summer Sublets

Many students wish to sublet their apartments during the summer months, and the Off-Campus Housing Office will assist by listing these apartments. Subletting is easier to do if the apartment is left furnished and is in the vicinity of Boston College.

Even if you rent your apartment for the summer months, you are still liable for unpaid rent and damages incurred by the sublettor(s) until the lease expires. We suggest that you request a deposit over and above the rental amount from your sublettor(s) to protect yourself in case of damages. For more information on subletting, click here.

For more detail on price comparisons by local neighborhoods, click here.