A person who is empowered to act for or in the place of another, such as a person you have designated with power of attorney to sign a lease or pick up keys for you. (See power of attorney)


Attractive or desirable features of a property that serve as a benefit to the residents but that are not necessary to its use. An amenity may be natural, such as location, river view, or a feature such as an air conditioner, balcony, living/dining room, as well as a fitness room, laundry room, bicycle storage room, or garden. Specific amenities will vary by property.

Authorized Occupant

A person who is authorized by Harvard University Housing to live in a Harvard University Housing apartment with the Harvard-affiliated leaseholder (lessee). Only close family members (spouse, domestic partner, child, sibling, or parent) are eligible.  Authorized occupants are not eligible to sign or to be named as a tenant on a Harvard University Housing Lease and may not retain possession of a Harvard University Housing apartment if the affiliated leaseholder vacates the apartment.


Basement apartment

In the United States, a basement apartment is located on the lowest habitable story or floor of the building, usually below ground level.


Cable ready

The apartment already has a jack installed for hooking up cable television. Cable television is not included in the rent. Residents must contact the cable television provider to arrange for service at an additional monthly cost.


A group of apartment buildings.

Currently Available list

A list of Harvard University Housing units that may be available for immediate rental or have a lease start date in the future. The list is open year-round and is available through the applicant portal to Harvard affiliates whose Harvard University Housing application has been approved.



Failure to meet legal obligations in a contract; for example, failure to make the monthly rent payments due on a lease.

Domestic partner

A person living in a long-term relationship with an exclusive mutual commitment similar to that of marriage. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age, share joint responsibility for their common welfare, be financially interdependent, and be in a relationship of mutual support and caring.


First floor

In the United States, the first floor is the floor of the building that is at or nearest ground level. This is unlike many places in Europe where the floors are labeled: ground, 1 (up one flight), 2 (up two flights), etc.

First name

Your given name.

Fixed-term lease

Refers to a lease with set start and end dates. The majority of Harvard University Housing leases start on the date an apartment is available for occupancy and terminate on June 30 annually. Leases may be renewable if full-time Harvard affiliation will continue through the following year, your tenancy is in good standing, and special conditions regarding the apartment or building do not exist. The lease is a legally binding contract outlining the conditions that both you (the tenant or lessee) and the landlord (Harvard University Housing) agree to meet. Your signature on a lease commits you to pay the amount of rent specified on the lease every month for the duration of the lease, whether you occupy the apartment or not.

Furnished apartment

A furnished apartment in Harvard University Housing is one that contains, at a minimum, basic apartment fixtures and appliances such as a stove or cooktop, a refrigerator, cabinets, bathroom, and kitchen sinks, a tub or shower, a closet, window blinds or shades or drapes, a light fixture and shower curtain in the bath, plus some basic furniture items (either a couch and a bed with mattress and cover or a futon (bed/couch combination) with mattress and cover; a dresser; lamps; a chest of drawers; and a small dinette table with four chairs. Some apartments may also have a built-in desk or built-in shelving. The apartment does not include concierge services, bed linens, towels, or any cooking, eating, or personal care implements.


Graduate Commons Program (GCP)

The community and events team at Harvard University Housing provides a “home away from home” for Harvard graduate students, faculty, post-docs, staff, and their families living in Harvard University Housing properties. The GCP team builds community and bridges for residents through meaningful events, enriching programs, and authentic interactions.


Harvard affiliate

For purposes of being eligible to live in Harvard University Housing, a person is considered to be a Harvard affiliate if they are a full-time, current, or incoming member of the Harvard graduate student body or a full-time, current, or incoming Harvard employee. Learn more about eligibility.


The initials for Harvard University Housing, a Harvard University department and part of Harvard University Campus Services, responsible for the management and rental of residential Harvard University Housing apartment complexes and Cronkhite Graduate Center. We also provide housing services including homebuying information and  a vacation rental for eligible affiliates, and we manage the Graduate Commons Program.

Harvard University Housing

A group of approximately 3,000 apartments in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston are owned by Harvard University and managed by Harvard University Housing (HUH). Occupancy of these apartments is restricted to full-time University graduate students, faculty, and staff (see Harvard affiliate).

Harvard Housing Office

The Harvard Housing Office, a part of Harvard University Campus Services, provides a variety of housing services to students, faculty, and employees of Harvard University and manages the initial inquiries for Harvard University Housing.

Harvard Off-Campus listing site

This is an online database of private market rental listings as well as apartment sublet opportunities in Harvard University Housing and in the private market. It is Managed by Off Campus Partners. This database can be searched at no cost from any device with access to the Internet. Visit

Housing contract

A contract between HUH (the Owner) and a resident of Cronkhite Graduate Center, granting the resident a license to occupy a room for a specified time period and at a specified rate for room and board.

Housing Election Period

The Housing Election Period takes place in the month of March, and is when we ask all of our current tenants to make their housing decision for the upcoming leasing season. Tenants can choose 1 of 4 options:

  • Renew your Lease 
  • Short-Term Lease Renewal
  • Request Early Move Out
  • Decline All Options (vacate at end of lease term).

The decision that the tenant chooses informs Harvard University Housing of apartment availability for the upcoming academic year, and allows HUH to make the appropriate plans for preparing units for re-rental as needed.

HUH Roommate roommate listing site

This is a self-service online database of listings for affiliates who are looking for roommates to move into their apartment and for those looking for an apartment in which to live. This service is managed by Off Campus Partners. Visit



The first letter of each word of a person's proper name (for example, M.J.S. for Mary Joan Smith).


Jointly and severally liable

In a roommate situation, each person named on the lease (each lessee) or on the housing contract is ordinarily billed only for their share of the rent. However, if your roommate leaves and/or does not pay his/her share of the rent or damage charges, HUH (the landlord/owner) can choose to hold you fully responsible for the rent/housing payments and damages not paid by your roommate. If you pay HUH, you in turn can pursue payment from your roommate through legal means.

Key Pickup Authorization form

A form you may sign to authorize another person who is not listed as a tenant on the lease/housing contract or as an approved Authorized Occupant to pick up keys on your behalf. The form must be returned to your property management office and the person you designate must provide photo identification.


An enclosed room equipped for preparing and cooking food, but that is not large enough to accommodate a table and chairs.

Kitchen (eat-in kitchen)

An enclosed room equipped for preparing and cooking food that is large enough to fit, at a minimum, a small table and two chairs.

Kitchen (galley kitchen)

A separate, small, narrow kitchen area similar to a kitchen on a ship or an airplane, that is equipped for preparing and cooking food. It is not large enough to fit a table and chairs.


An area equipped for preparing and cooking food, but that is part of another room (i.e., the living room/dining area or, in a studio, a living/dining/bedroom).



The owner of a property or the agent acting on the owner's behalf. Harvard University owns Harvard University Housing properties, and HUH acts as the landlord and manager or agent on the University's behalf.

Last name

Your surname or family name.

Lead paint in apartments

Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not managed properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Before renting pre-1978 housing, landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling. If you are an applicant with a child aged six or under, you cannot live in an apartment that is not lead-compliant. If the apartment you select contains lead paint, HUH will have the lead paint removed or encapsulated before you move in. However, the start of your lease may be delayed by up to six weeks while the deleading and reinspection process takes place.

Lead compliant definitions

1) An apartment that is lead-compliant meets all standards under Massachusetts lead regulations for occupancy by any individual. 2) An apartment can have lead but be compliant because the lead paint has been encapsulated or is at a height that is deemed safe by Federal and State regulations. 3) An apartment may be completely free of lead and not be fully compliant because common areas of the building have lead. 4) An apartment that is noted as having full Initial Lead Inspection Compliance indicates that the apartment, common, and exterior areas were compliant with Massachusetts lead regulations and free of lead hazards at the time of inspection.

Letter of Full Initial Lead Inspection Compliance

Initial Lead Inspection Compliance indicates that the apartment, common, and exterior areas were compliant with Massachusetts lead regulations and free of lead hazards at the time of inspection.

Letter of Full Deleading Compliance

During the Initial lead inspection, the apartment was found to have lead paint. Subsequently, the apartment was abated to meet standards under Massachusetts lead regulations and was free of lead hazards at the time of inspection.

Letter of Lead Paint Re-occupancy, Reinspection Certification

All interior apartment areas and surfaces meet standards under Massachusetts lead regulations and were free of lead hazards at the time of inspection.

Lead inspection

A surface-by-surface investigation to determine the presence of lead-based paint and the provision of a report explaining the results of the investigation.


A legally binding contract outlining the conditions that both the landlord and the tenant agree to meet. Leases are usually for one year, although it may be possible to arrange a lease for a shorter period of time. Before signing any lease, read it carefully and be sure you understand everything in it. Your signature on a lease commits you to pay the amount of rent specified on the lease every month for the duration of the lease, whether you occupy the apartment or not.

Lease commencement date

The date when tenancy and the first date of rent obligation begins.

Lease expiration date

The date when the lease expires and tenancy and rent obligation ends.

Lease liability end date

The date the current tenant's rent obligation ends.

Lease term

The period of time from the lease commencement date through the lease expiration date.


The person whose name appears on the lease.

Leasing Office

The HUH office that manages the leasing process for Harvard University Housing.

Leasing system

This refers to the system and database that houses the online process for applying for, selecting, and leasing a Harvard University Housing apartment. The system also is used in connection with HUH’s property information, property maintenance, tenant records, and financial processes.


Legally obligated; responsible.


Something for which one is liable; an obligation, a responsibility, or a debt.


Market analysis

A real estate appraisal term for determining what rent an apartment or property is likely to bring in the local market at a certain point in time. The value is determined by comparing the subject property to similar properties that have recently been rented, those that did not rent, and those that are currently being offered for rental.

Market rent or market value

The highest price that a renter would pay and the lowest price a landlord would accept for the rental of a property.

Mediating disputes

HUH does not assist tenants in resolving problems between themselves and their neighbors or between roommates. If student tenants are unable to resolve issues on their own, they are encouraged to seek the help of counselors at their school. Faculty and employee residents are encouraged to use the services offered by Harvard through its Employee Assistance Program.



Located on Harvard University’s Cambridge, Allston, or Longwood Medical Area campuses.

One-bedroom convertible apartment

A uniquely configured apartment that can be used as a traditional one-bedroom apartment (a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen) or in which the living room can be converted to a second bedroom (two bedrooms, a kitchen, no living room). This apartment configuration is a great way to share housing expenses when rented by two roommates.


Personal property insurance

Personal property insurance covers both property loss and personal liability (protection if any person sustains an injury or loss in your apartment). Such insurance covers personal liability even when you are not in your apartment or house. When discussing your coverage with an insurance representative, you should mention any special conditions such as subletting, roommate coverage, or additional coverage for expensive items. It is your responsibility to insure any personal property. Harvard University Housing (HUH, the Landlord) and Harvard University do not provide renters with personal property insurance. HUH and Harvard University shall not be liable for and do not cover the cost of replacing tenants' personal items (clothing, computers, furniture, stereos, books, etc.) that may be lost or stolen or damaged or destroyed by fire, water, steam, defective refrigeration, elevators, vandalism, or any other cause, except to the extent caused by the omission, fault, negligence, or other misconduct of HUH, while on the Premises, the building, or the land adjacent thereto.

Pet-friendly housing

Certain apartments have been designated as pet-friendly. Learn more about HUH pet policies. Fish in an aquarium not exceeding 50 gallons are currently permitted at all HUH properties, except Cronkhite Graduate Center.

Power of attorney

A legal document by which you appoint another person to act as your agent to perform legal actions on your behalf. A limited or special power of attorney specifies a single action or a limited range of actions your agent is authorized to undertake on your behalf (i.e., pay for, sign, or cancel a lease; sign other legal documents for you). A general power of attorney authorizes your agent to perform any action you could have taken, subject to exceptions specified by you or by law; it ceases if you revoke the power of attorney, you become incapacitated, or you die. A durable power of attorney bestows total power to your agent and remains in effect and remains in effect if you become incapacitated; however, it ceases if you revoke it or you die. If you use a power of attorney to have a person sign a HUH lease or housing contract for you, the form must be notarized (your signing the form is officially witnessed) by a Notary Public or an attorney and returned to HUH. Requirements vary by state and by country; we suggest checking with a lawyer prior to assigning power of attorney rights.

Prorated rent

Rent is calculated for a portion of a month, from the lease start date through the last day of that month. The number of days for the portion of the month is multiplied by the daily rent rate. The daily rent rate is determined by dividing the monthly rent rate by the total number of days in that month, i.e., June = 30 days; March = 31 days, etc.


Rent ranges

The rents within each building may vary based on apartment size, floor level, and other amenities. The rent ranges specified on our website show the low and high rents for each apartment size (number of bedrooms) in each building.

Residence hall

Dormitory-style housing. Harvard College and some of Harvard's Graduate Schools manage their own residence halls. Information is available directly from the schools (visit HUH manages one residence hall: the Cronkhite Graduate Center, which mainly offers single-occupancy furnished rooms. Kitchens and baths are shared, and participation in the Cronkhite Dining Hall meal plan is required. Only Harvard graduate students are permitted (no family members). 


An amendment or addition to the lease or housing contract.

Roommate Addition

A legally binding contract that adds a new lessee (roommate) to an existing Harvard University Housing lease or housing contract.



The title or word of greeting appearing before your name, such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr., or Prof.

Select Window

A one-day period of time when approved housing applicants can go online and select the apartment they want to rent.

Smoke-free building

In a building designated as smoke-free, smoking is not allowed within any apartments, on balconies or patios, in any common area of the building, or anywhere on the exterior premises or grounds. ALL Harvard University Housing residential properties are designated as smoke-free/no smoking permitted. Smoking means the combustion and inhalation from any cigarette, cigar, pipe, or other device or method.


Apartments that ordinarily consist of either one single room with cooking facilities and a separate bathroom, or two rooms: a living room/bedroom combination with a separate kitchen and bathroom.


The process where a current resident re-rents their apartment or room to another Harvard affiliate approved by HUH for a specific amount of time (ordinarily during the winter and summer recesses, as defined by the University academic calendar). Learn more about sublets.


Also known as a grocery store, this is a large self-service retail market that sells food and household goods.



A Tenant is a person who signs the lease and is bound to the legal obligations of the lease. A
Resident is a person who is authorized to reside in an apartment (see Authorized Occupant).

Termination/Extension form

A legally binding e-form or paper document by which a tenant extends or terminates their lease.


A transfer is a move from one Harvard University Housing apartment to another. Transfers are tightly governed. Please refer to your Tenant Policy Manual (PDF) for more information.

Two-bedroom efficiency apartment

A uniquely configured apartment that contains two living rooms/bedrooms, a shared kitchenette or kitchen dining/area, and one or two baths. This configuration is a great way to share housing expenses when rented by two roommates. Two-bedroom efficiencies can also be used as a traditional one-bedroom apartment (a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchenette or kitchen/dining area).


Unfurnished apartment

The majority of Harvard University Housing apartments are unfurnished, which means they only contain, at a minimum, basic apartment fixtures and appliances such as a stove or cooktop, a refrigerator, cabinets, bathroom, and kitchen sinks, a tub or shower, a closet, window blinds or shades or drapes, and a light fixture in the bath. Some apartments may have light fixtures in other rooms, additional appliances such as a dishwasher, a washer/dryer, a built-in desk, built-in shelving, and an additional full or half bath.


An individual apartment.


Commodities or services such as heat, electricity, gas, water, or sewer provided by public or private utility companies. Heat, hot and cold water, sewer, electricity are included in the rent at all Harvard University Housing apartments. Internet service is provided at most HUH locations. Cable television and landline telephone service are not provided at any location; residents must contact local vendors to arrange service at their own expense. Cronkhite Graduate Center is not wired for cable television so it cannot be installed in rooms; it is provided in the basement common area.


View and Select Window periods

Assigned time period(s) during the Lottery when Harvard University Housing applicants can go online to see which apartments are available to be leased (view) and choose the one in which they would like to live (select).

View Window

A one-day period of time when approved housing applicants can go online and view all available apartments for rent.


Wheelchair accessible unit

An apartment that has been constructed, altered, or modified to meet the needs of a tenant with a disability. Floor plans for these apartments are designated with the international symbol of accessibility, and the unit is tagged as “Wheelchair adapted.” For information on the specific modification details for any apartment marked as accessible and/or wheelchair accessible, contact the Disability Housing Coordinator at 617-495-1459 or