Things I Wish I Knew, Vol. 10: How to not be homeless before Sept. 1

Greetings almost-1Ls!

So, by now you’ve probably done the math: orientation is August 20th, school starts on the 24th, and many of the leases for apartments you’ve been looking into start on September 1st.

Ruh-roh.

This is a sad reality about Boston (that most leases do start on September 1st), but the good news is that you will only be in this dilemma once in your law school career. I polled some of our rising 2Ls to see what they did for that week and boiled it down to a few options:

  1. If you’ HAVEN’T signed a Sept. 1 lease, try to avoid this kind of lease. Non-Sept. 1st leases are hard to come by, particularly in the Cleveland Circle area (although 2Ls Karla Vergara and Allison Henry were able to find some), so if you haven’t started looking, you need to. Like, now. (Read: yesterday). Although it’s a bummer to pay rent in July or August when you may not actually be in Boston, it beats the heck out of struggling through this housing search for a place you’ll only live for a week.
  2. If you’ve already signed a Sept. 1 lease: 
    1. Phone a friend. Seriously. A friend in need is a friend indeed, and many from the Class of 2017 spent this week either couchsurfing or staying in a guest bedroom of a resident Bostonian, including rising 2L Kate Ball who reached out to Boston-based friends from undergrad and stayed with their families for that week (and came home to a home-cooked meal every night). If you know any rising 1Ls who happened to snag an early lease date, reach out to them too. You’ll soon come to learn that being at BC Law means having a wealth of resources at your disposal, chief among them being your classmates.
    2. Try to move in early. Now, I was entirely unsuccessful in this regard, but I know many people who managed to convince their landlord to move up their move-in date (for a small fee). This obviously won’t work if the previous tenants are still there, or if your landlord isn’t in the mood to deal with this, but it’s worth a shot!
    3. Find a sub-lease.
      1. Craigslist. When I recommend that 1Ls check Craigslist for housing, people always look at me with that thanks-but-no-thanks-I-want-to-live-to-be-a-2L glint in their eye. Craigslist is your friend, especially in a city as big as Boston. Granted, you need to screen your searches — don’t go to meet anyone by yourself, and always ask to see pictures or video or go in person before you agree to anything, but Craigslist is a virtual treasure trove. Just imagine: it’s August 1st. Your potential sublessor is looking at paying for a whole other month on a lease they may not be in town for or for which they would prefer to save the money. Are they going to say no to you paying them for a week-and-a-half? No! Because now that’s money they don’t have to pay. In the words of a rising 2L Brett Stanley, you may have to “troll the darkest corners of Craigslist,” and you may end up living super far away in the North End like he did, but you will find a place if you look hard enough.
      2. The Facebook page. If you are not a member of the Class of 2018 Facebook page, I strongly recommend joining. (If you don’t have a Facebook, I would recommend creating one if only because there’s some very valuable information on the class page). The Class of 2017 page is how I found my one-week sublease last year from an graduating 3L who was moving and offered to do a sublease for any length of time. I got a sublease in Cleveland Circle AND a bed (because who wants to drag one of those up from Florida?), bed frame, mattress, boxspring and all. Your fellow Eagles would love to help you out, so keep checking and there will be offers popping up throughout the summer.
    4. If none of the above works, try AirBnB. If you haven’t heard of AirBnB, it is literally the best thing ever for short stays in a different city. Cheaper than a hotel with all the comforts of an actual home. And often, AirBnB “hosts” are willing to negotiate on pricing if you plan on staying for a week or more.

As always, and particularly with this question, please feel free to reach out to me or anyone at BC Law via email or Facebook.

Happy house-hunting!

Charlene

I’m rising 2L, but check out my posts about things I wish I knew as an incoming 1L so you’ll actually know them when you get here. My inbox is always open so you can comment on here, or shoot me an email at ochogo@bc.edu. 

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