Newcomers' Guide‎ > ‎

Housing & Moving


Moving to a new city and having to find housing can be a very stressful situation. To ease this situation, these are some of the things you may prepare before your arrival at Boston -- think of what you would you like your new home to be: Does it have to be near the campus? How much rent can you afford? Do you need day/child care facilities and/or schools nearby? Check the internet to see which communities are safer in the Greater Boston area, what the average rents are, whether public transportation is available, etc.

Usually newcomers spend one to four weeks of concentrated searching to locate adequate accommodation, so plan your arrival accordingly. Families with children generally need a longer amount of time to locate their housing.

Please be aware that most landlords require the first month's rent, the last month's rent and a security deposit equal to one month's rent in advance. If you get help from a real estate agency, they might charge you a fee of up to one monthly rent. You should be prepared to pay up to four months' rent before occupying any apartment.

We do not advise newcomers to be tempted to contract for a long term rental prior to their arrival. The quality of our local housing ranges from quite nice to really poor, with no price difference. Being here to view potential rental will result in the best decisions. You can arrange for temporary housing using the resources on the MIT Off Campus Housing web site. There you will find a list of local guest houses/inns that offer economical rates.

If you are pregnant or have children under the age of 6, you may want to look for lead safe apartments. Most buildings in Cambridge and Boston were built many decades ago and may still have lead paint indoors. Young children should be protected from lead exposure as it is harmful to their health. Look for apartments that have been deleaded, or newer construction built after 1978 when lead paint use in homes was banned. Click this Lead Poisoning Prevention page for more information. 

MIT Housing is a great resource for exploring your options and understanding local real estate terms.

How safe is Boston?

MIT and the communities surrounding Cambridge are urban areas. To investigate the safety of a particular neighborhood, contact the crime prevention unit of the local Police Department and ask for a crime report. MIT Campus Police are available to schedule appointments to review crime statistics for areas within Cambridge.

MIT Campus Police
301 Vassar Street, W89, Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: (617) 253-1212

Boston Police Headquarters
One Schroeder Plaza, Boston, MA 02120
Phone: (617) 343-4200

Cambridge Police
125 Sixth St, Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: (617) 349-3300

Can you suggest any websites for living in Boston? online version of the Boston Globe newspaper, also includes news, weather, traffic, apartments, jobs, arts and entertainment, education, town information.

Boston-online: Links to event calendars, ethnic Boston, gay and lesbian information, libraries, neighborhoods, religion, transportation, and much much more.

Parents' Paper : Articles about raising children, monthly calendar of events, and lots of information about camps, classes, schools, and childcare centers. Produced monthly, available for free in many locations, including bookstores (Barnes & Nobles, Curious George), supermarkets, and the Children's Museum.

Information for Visitors to the City of Cambridge: demographics, bus routes, arts, history, libraries/bookstores, museums, transportation and maps.

Last Updated: April 2010