The Greater Boston area offers a variety of distinct neighborhoods and transportation options for students seeking off-campus housing. While finding off-campus living accommodations can be challenging, Berklee's Student Activities Office provides resources and counsel to help students find the right fit for their needs. Some things that Berklee's Student Activities Office can help students determine include:
- Which neighborhood is a good fit
- If it is better to live within walking distance of the Conservatory or to commute by car or public transportation
- The ideal number of housemates or roommates
- What is considered a reasonable monthly rent cost, and what that cost typically includes
- What types of fees students might expect if moving into a new place
- Best practices when searching for apartments, including tips on what to look out for
Students wishing to find off-campus housing with other Boston Conservatory at Berklee students are encouraged to create an account on proartsconnect.org and use the housing forum feature to connect with arts students from the six Pro Arts Consortium schools who may be looking for roommates or offering housing in the area.
When to Start Looking for Off-Campus Housing
Students should give themselves plenty of lead time when searching for off-campus housing and be aware that the rental process and lease terms vary depending on the landlord or management company. For example, some leases are month-to-month ("rolling") and can be renewed or canceled with 30 or 60 days' written notice to the the landlord, while other leases are for a 12-month term that can begin any month of the year (August 1, September 1, and June 1 are popular move-in dates for Boston). Typically, September vacancies will be advertised as early as January or February.
Because finding a room, apartment, or neighborhood in Boston can be difficult if you are not physically in the area, it is recommended that students plan to visit before starting school to search for apartments. If hoping to begin a lease in August or September, students should plan to visit earlier in the summer to begin scouting out apartment options and avoid the late-summer rush.
Subletting a room can also be an ideal option for some students if the terms of the lease allow for it. Students interested in subletting should consult with the landlord and review the prior tenant's lease before committing to anything. Students should also be aware that many people only sublet an apartment for a set period of time, so it is important to find out whether there is a possibility of extending or renewing the lease beyond the sublet period.
Off-Campus Housing FAQs
Where should I live?
Boston is diverse and has many distinct communities. Because Boston is defined by neighborhoods, you'll need some understanding of the different areas to better navigate apartment listings.
Boston Conservatory is located at the intersection of the Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods, near Kenmore Square. Most apartment listings for these neighborhoods will appear under the "Back Bay" heading, with a notation indicating the sub-neighborhood in which the apartment is located. The Back Bay, Fenway, and Kenmore areas, as well as parts of the South End, are within walking distance of Boston Conservatory.
Boston Conservatory is approximately two blocks from Boston's subway system, called the "T." The closet T stops to the Conservatory are Hynes Convention Center (Green Line) and Massachusetts Avenue (Orange Line). The number 1 and CT1 bus lines also pass through the area from Cambridge (Red Line). With these options, students can access just about any part of the city.
In general, housing costs decrease the farther one goes from the heart of the city. A Boston map and online apartment listing sites will give an idea of what is available in the various sections of the city. Visit the City of Boston website for a description of each neighborhood.
What are the average prices of apartments in the Boston area?
Housing in the heart of Boston can be pricey, but cost varies considerably depending on your requirements. The following table gives a variety of rates for unfurnished apartments in the Boston area, as reported by numerous real estate agents. Of course, prices will vary depending on the area in which you rent, the quality and size of the apartment, how many housemates or roommates you have, and whether or not the landlord charges for utilities.
Typical price points:
|accommodation type||price per month|
|Studio (one room)||$950–$1,200/month|
|Two-Bedroom Apartment or One-Bedroom Split||$1,500–$2,300/month|
|Three-Bedroom Apartment or Two-Bedroom Split||$2,100–$3,300/month|
Again, these prices are just a guide. It is possible that rents will be lower or higher than the amounts listed here, depending on factors like where the apartment is located, its size, and its condition.
Many students live in "split" apartments in the area to save money. These are also known as "converted" apartments, in which the original living room is now used as a bedroom. The common spaces in these apartments are usually limited to a small foyer or an eat-in kitchen.
Where can I find apartment listings?
Websites and/or realtors can help you find available apartments. In reading the online listings, it is important to note that you will find two types of listings. One is an apartment or room being offered by a building owner (landlord); the other is a listing placed by a realtor (real estate agent). If you can deal directly with a landlord, it is likely that you will save money, as you will not be required to pay a realtor's finder's fee.
No-fee apartments listed by brokers and by owner. This site also has a section on sublets and people looking for roommates. Listings are updated continuously.
This site lists apartment rentals of all types, as well as people seeking roommates. It also has a directory of agencies in the Boston area with links to their web pages.
Real Estate Agents
If you decide to work with a real estate agent, please keep in mind:
- You should not have to pay a fee just to look at the listings.
- Before looking at any apartments with an agent, find out if he/she intends to charge a fee just for looking at an apartment.
- Never rent an apartment without seeing it first—take the time to thoroughly inspect the apartment and ask questions.
- Do not let an agent pressure you into a hasty decision.
- Be aware that realtors are entitled to charge up to one month's rent as a "finder's fee," but only if you actually sign a lease.
- Check the rental application to be sure it has the exact information of the apartment you are interested in (address, apartment number, and price).
The following is a list of real estate agencies in the Boston Conservatory area*:
1st Step Realty
1620 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton
A & S Realty
271 Newbury Street, Boston
Beacon Realty Trust
Contact: Steven Handler
248 Newbury Street, Boston
Boston City Properties
581 Boylston Street, Boston
Boston Off-Campus Apartments
70 Westland Ave, Boston
617-421-1661 ext. 10
Boston's Preferred Properties
57 Gainsborough Street, Boston
Boston Realty Advisors
715 Boylston Street, Boston
Boston Union Realty
79 Westland Ave, Boston
Cabot and Company
213 Newbury Street, Boston
The Charles Realty
257 Newbury Street, Boston
957 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
The Copley Group
109 Queensberry Street, Boston
ERA Real Estate Company
316 Newbury Street, Suite 41, Boston
Kunevich & Lau
241 Washington Street, Brookline
*Boston Conservatory at Berklee does not endorse any of the listed real estate agencies or roommate matching services. Boston Conservatory at Berklee cannot guarantee the quality of service or accommodations and cannot be responsible for the action of any realtor or landlord. This information is presented only as a convenience; the agencies listed were selected based on proximity to the Conservatory. Therefore, there may be more realtor options for areas outside the Conservatory's vicinity. Students are encouraged to conduct their own research to ensure complete understanding of renting in the Greater Boston area.
Where can I stay in Boston while conducting my search?
Beantown International Hostel
222 Friend Street, Boston
40 Berkeley Street, Boston
Greater Boston YMCA
316 Huntington Avenue, Boston
123 Longwood Avenue, Brookline
Garden Halls Residences
60 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
617-267-0079 or 617-236-8031
1105 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
Summer reservations: 617-779-0900
Back Bay Hilton
40 Dalton Street, Boston
617-236-1100 or 800-874-0663
Best Western Terrace Inn
1650 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
138 St. James Avenue, Boston
47 Huntington Avenue, Boston
The Eliot Hotel
370 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
1271 Boylston Street, Boston
The Lenox Hotel
710 Boylston Street, Boston
Oasis Guest House
22 Edgerly Road, Boston
617-267-2262 or 800-230-0105
Park Plaza Hotel
64 Arlington Street, Boston
39 Dalton Street, Boston
The Midtown Hotel
220 Huntington Avenue, Boston
617-262-1000 or 800-343-1177
463 Beacon Street Guest House
463 Beacon Street, Boston
Note: Boston Conservatory at Berklee cannot guarantee the quality of accommodations and service and cannot be held responsible for the actions of any representative of the temporary housing facilities listed above.