Moving into your new apartment as a student is an exciting time, but before you get to all the fun, make sure you take care of a few simple things.You will be glad you did later!
Tips for Moving Into Your Student Apartment
- For security, check that all of the windows that can be opened also have locks, especially if you are on the ground floor. If any of the windows cannot lock, tell your landlord immediately.
- Think about a fire escape plan and discuss it amongst your roommates. Know all of the doors and windows suitable for a safe exit from the apartment in the case of an emergency. Make sure that fire-escape windows are not screwed or stuck shut. If they are, have your landlord make them openable immediately.
- Learn where the gas and water shutoffs are. In the case of an emergency or a pipe burst, knowing exactly where to go to shut off gas or water can save lives or at least costly damage to the apartment and your personal property.
- Inspect the apartment and make sure that everything is as you expected and matches the contract. It is good to catch any problems that you may not notice immediately. It is not uncommon that a landlord did not tell you about a problem, either because they wanted to get a tenant or they did not know. If anything is unsatisfactory or does not match the contract, make a note of it and contact your landlord.
- If you and your roommates pay for utilities independently from the rent, record the meter readings as soon as you move in. Tell the utilities companies the readings and the dates you moved in. You would not want to pay for extra utilities that were used when you were not even occupying the apartment. While you are at it, give all of the names of the apartment’s occupants to the utilities companies to avoid any confusion with billing.
Info + Tips and Tricks to Beat the Heat
Boston is amidst a serious heat-wave that is expected to last for a few more days. In Massachusetts, a heat wave is defined as three consecutive days with temperatures over 90 degrees. Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, spoke regarding today saying, “It’s mainly just going to feel miserable.” A heat advisory is in effect for today, July 21st, from noon until 9 pm. Temperatures will be in the 90s, but combined with the high levels of humidity, the weather is expected to feel as if it’s 104; this will be 105 tomorrow.
Intense heat combined with high humidity can be more than just uncomfortable. It can be unhealthy. This combination of factors causes significantly higher than normal ozone levels in the air, which is not healthy for anyone. Those especially at risk are persons with asthma and other respiratory problems, children, and the elderly. People have been advised to check on senior citizens in their community throughout the day.
Beating the Heat:
Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Your body cools itself down as perspiration (sweat) evaporates from the skin. When humidity is high, your perspiration evaporates at a much slower rate, making your natural cooling techniques much less efficient. Your body compensates by increasing perspiration, which can quickly dehydrate you. One should always try and stay hydrated, but during weather like this it is especially critical.
Stay cool. If you do not have air conditioning or access to a cool place, try seeking out one of Boston’s “cooling centers.” Mayor Tom Menino announced that Boston and some surrounding areas are keeping public pools open late and opening a series of cooling centers when people can refresh themselves.
Try a non-outdoor activity. Sure, you may feel guilty not enjoying the outdoors during the summer, but you do not have to feel guilty when the weather is like this! Try catching a movie or going to a museum. These activities almost always involve environment-controlled, air-conditioned spaces.
A very “hot” topic these days is how people can lead more of a “green” lifestyle. Little changes you make at home can really make a difference. Here are some tips to help make your Boston apartment or Boston home a little bit greener and help reduce your carbon footprint:
“Energy Star” Appliances. Since appliance consumption accounts for about 18% of household energy bills this is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of energy that you consume. Energy Star appliances use 10%-50% less energy than standard appliances.
Set your thermostat. In colder weather, grab a sweatshirt and turn down the heat a few degrees. Each degree below 68°F during colder weather saves up to 5% more heating energy. Similarly, during warm weather turn on a fan and set the heat a few degrees higher.
Conserve water. Install a low-flow shower head and toilet in your bathroom to save water. In addition to certain products, behavioral changes can help save you money on your water and heating bill – such as taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth, and using cold water when doing your laundry.
CFL Bulbs. By using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) you use 66% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs. Using CFLs can also help you save money – CFLs last 10 times longer than regular light bulbs, which can save up to $30 during the lifetime of the bulb.
Reduce plastics. The production and disposal of plastic is considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Try to reduce your use of plastics throughout your everyday life. For instance, bring reusable bags to the grocery store and use a reusable water bottle instead of drinking from plastic bottles.
Shop smart. Finally, be aware of what you’re buying when you go to the store – many cleaning products are toxic to you and the environment. Use alcohol as a solvent instead of the toxic butyl cellosolve found in many carpet cleaners and window cleaners. Or, you can skip buying these products altogether and make your own cleaning supplies (this can help save money as well as helping the environment).
Finding the right Boston rental property can be a pretty overwhelming process. After a seemingly endless search for the perfect place, you think you’ve finally found a good fit. Then you meet with the landlord, sign a lease agreement, get your set of keys and before you know it… It’s move-in day. During the moving process you discover a few unpleasant surprises that you didn’t notice during the original tour – or maybe the living conditions have significantly deteriorated since you moved in due to circumstances out of your control. Now you want to break the rental lease as a result of the uninhabitable living conditions. How do you go about doing so? Here are some general tips for breaking a rental lease due to unlivable conditions:
- First you should research the minimum housing rental standards in your area of residence to prove that your property is unlivable.
- Take pictures of the living conditions which make your situation unlivable. Some reasonable conditions include toxic mold, infestation, holes in the ceiling or floor, flood or fire damage, etc.
- Set up a meeting with your landlord. Either bring him pictures or have him walk through your apartment. If there is time and your landlord is willing to correct the problem then you might not need to break the agreement.
- If your landlord disputes your complaint, have a third party – this person depends on the property code of your state – to check out your apartment and determine whether or not it is habitable. If this third party deems the property uninhabitable, your landlord must follow your specific state’s property code and let you out of your lease (a copy of your state’s property code can usually be found online).
- If your landlord still refuses to let you out of the lease agreement set up a meeting with your local housing authority for advice on how to get out of the lease. Make sure to bring the pictures of the unlivable conditions as well as a copy of your lease agreement.
- If you are still unable to completely break your lease agreement you may be able to reduce your rent payment until the uninhabitable living conditions are corrected.
To prevent against this exhausting process make sure to thoroughly examine your new apartment before signing any type of contract. Or better yet, hire a real estate agent to help with the search – contact an experienced Phoenix Realty agent to get your apartment search off on the right foot!
While the cost of living and renting in Boston is not nearly as high as it is New York City or San Francisco, let’s face it- for a young adult trying to get by, it can get pretty pricey. Add that with student loans to pay off and low starting salaries, and the costs can seem overwhelming.
Here are some ways you can get creative to cut down on your rental costs and save some money.
Find the Right Agent
Phoenix Realtors are also experienced negotiators. Sometimes there is a sense of urgency on the landlord’s part to get their space rented as soon as possible. If this is the case, he or she may be more willing to negotiate on the rent price or even give the first month’s rent free in exchange for a longer lease. Not all landlords are willing to negotiate, but Phoenix Realtors are very experienced in the Greater Boston real estate market and its trends, so we can help you negotiate a fair rent within your budget.
Location is also important because it is typically less expensive to live near colleges and universities. For example, apartments that are located in Kenmore, Allston, Brighton, and Fenway are near Boston College, Boston University, and Northeastern, and therefore will not cost as much to rent as an apartment Back Bay or Beacon Hill.
Our agents can help answer all your questions about various neighborhoods and access to public transportation. We’ll make sure we help you find an apartment that fits your lifestyle and needs.
Rent with Friends
You and your friends can also rent a ‘Split’ style apartment to save money. Split apartments have a layout in which the living room can be used as an additional bedroom due to extra entrances/ exits in the apartment to give each roommate access to their bedroom without entering their roommate’s private space. So for example, a ½ split apartment would have two bedrooms, but no living room.
Be a Good Tenant
You also want to make sure you can get a good reference from your landlord for when you move to your next apartment. Paying your rent on-time and being courteous to your neighbors will help ensure your relationship with your landlord is a positive one, and having a good reference from your current landlord may help you save money on your rent in the future.
Phoenix Realty is committed to helping you find the perfect apartment that won’t put a hole in your wallet. Use our Rental Search Tool to browse our impressive selection of Boston apartments or contact us to speak to one of our experience agents!
- Allston MA
- Apartment Rentals
- Back Bay
- Beacon Hill
- Boston Amenities
- Boston Neighborhood
- Boston Renter Advice
- Boston Seaport District
- Brighton MA
- Brookline MA
- Buying or Selling Homes
- Chestnut Hill
- Featured Listings
- Luxury Real Estate
- Mission Hill
- Newton MA
- Real Estate News
- Renter's Guide
- South End
- Student Housing
- Tax Credit