Parents & Families

Is your student searching for a place to live off campus, or will be in the future? Off Campus Engagement and Support is here to help! We are available as a resource to you and your student as you search for an apartment that fits your budget, meets safety standards, and meets your students’ needs.  In addition to our online resources, including the Northeastern Housing Database, we are available in person, by phone for one on one consult, or via email at We can assist with the search process, lease reviews, and tenant concerns. We also assist students who are moving Beyond Boston for co-op, both within the U.S. and internationally.

Check out our earlier Parent & Family presentation here.

View our 2019 Parent Webinar below:

Top 10: Tips for Parents

  1. Assist in the planning process. Use our Get Started page for an overview of the process. There are many decisions to make, including a budget, neighborhoods, and roommates to name a few. Ask your student questions to learn what type of place they are looking for and to understand their priorities. Take this time to share your priorities, concerns, and budget guidelines (you will be asked to co-sign, see below). The apartment search process can be overwhelming the first time. Help your student avoid problems by staying involved in the process.
  2. Become familiar with Off Campus Engagement and Support resources. Explore our website resources including information on landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, subletting guidelines, and City of Boston resources. This allows you to share resources with your student including how to use the Northeastern Housing Database (parents can login as a guest), what to look for during apartment showings, understanding the lease contract, and considerations when choosing roommates.
  3. See it Before You Sign It! And do your research. All students on a lease should see the apartment in person before signing the contract. Parents and co-signers should also have access to view the apartment via face-time, or have your student take pictures during their visit. Research any potential apartments by using Rent Smart Boston and checking the list of Problem Properties in Boston. Make sure all roommates and parents involved have had the chance to see the apartment and have their questions answered. Use our Apartment Hunting Checklist as a guide. Can’t visit in person? Consider having a friend, roommate, or relative nearby check it out. Or request that a realtor do a live video walk through with you.
  4. Know the “No More Than 4” Ordinance. Boston has a zoning ordinance that limits the number of unrelated persons that can live together to prevent overcrowding. No more than 4 unrelated persons may live in an apartment. All students residing in the unit must be on the lease to be protected by Boston tenant law. Anyone not on the lease is not protected and could be evicted.
  5. Safety first! We want students to choose apartments that are safe and secure. It is important to check for basic safety features when visiting an apartment and after move-in. This includes working smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, 2 exits from each room, working windows and door locks, exterior lighting, and addressing crime concerns. View more safety resources.
  6. Be a second set of eyes. Students should read the application, lease, and addendum before completing the application, paying any application fees and signing the lease. Any promises made by the realtor or landlord must be in writing to be valid. After your student reads the lease, encourage them to ask questions about what clauses mean or if something is unclear. All parents and co-signers should do the same. Our program Lease Genius helps walk one through their lease, allowing students and parents to understand the agreement. Find a more detailed lease signing process here.
  7. Prepare to co-sign. Students are often required to have a co-signor to show proof of income and/or have a credit check. As a co-signer, you are responsible for rent if tenants are unable to pay.
  8. Plan for fall move-in. Many leases start on September 1st and Boston has many college students moving in at the same time. Plan moving and storage needs early.
  9. Be the hero without the hover. Notice issues with the apartment on move-in day? It’s best to address concerns right away. All apartments must meet minimum State Sanitary Code. Any immediate concerns should be addressed to the landlord directly and reported to the City of Boston’s Inspectional Services by calling 3-1-1 (or by using the BOS:311 app).
  10. Stay informed. Receive our newsletter for timely off campus updates from our student Community Ambassadors. Follow Off Campus Engagement and Support on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

Next Steps:

  • Visit our Get Started page for a step-by-step breakdown of apartment hunting in Boston!
  • Have a question? Review our FAQs or contact us directly at 617-373-8480, or by email at

Northeastern University

360 Huntington Ave.

Boston, MA 02115

(617) 373-8480

Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

or schedule a virtual appointment.