Choosing an Apartment

Condition of Apartment

Check the condition of the apartment and furnishings. Make a list of any damages already existing, and ask the landlord to sign an agreement acknowledging the damage and that you will not be held responsible for the present damage. Ask the landlord to make major repairs, and confirm the request and agreement in writing. If there will be children under the age of six living in the apartment, all lead paint must be removed.


The cost of utilities (heat, hot water, electricity and gas) is often not included in the rent. Be sure to determine whether utilities are included when considering a particular apartment and, if not, to include the cost of utilities when you calculate how much rent you can afford to pay.


The majority of apartments are unfurnished. Rental or used furniture can be found in stores throughout the Boston area. Check out the Welcome to Boston Guide for a list of retailers or use the HSPH ClassifiedsOpens in a new window for a listing of items for sale among other resources.


Stoves are usually provided, but you may have to provide your own refrigerator. You will likely have to provide your own small kitchen appliances and air-conditioners too.

Property Owner or Management Company

If possible, talk with prospective neighbors concerning the competency and reputation of the property owner and/or management company. Clarify who will be responsible for painting, rubbish disposal, routine maintenance such as shoveling snow and changing hallway light bulbs, and for major repairs to appliances or the apartment. Any agreement that you reach should be in writing and signed by both parties. Is there a resident superintendent in the building? If not, ask whom you call regarding emergencies, problems or concerns.


Check with the property owner if subletting is allowed. Most leases have a provision for subletting with the property owner’s permission. If you sublet your apartment without the property owner’s permission, you could be sued for breaking the lease.


If you have pets that you are planning to bring with you, be sure to inquire whether or not pets are allowed.

Apartment Insurance

Apartment insurance protects against the monetary loss of the contents of an apartment or the tenant’s personal property. Certain features of a policy such as cost, reimbursement of loss, etc. vary depending on the insurance company, the location of the apartment, the condition of the apartment and the amount of property covered. Determine your insurance needs and compare policies carefully before deciding on a policy.

We strongly recommend that you insure your property.