Community Resource Guide: How To Do A Housing Search

How WATCH CDC can help:
For tenants: The WATCH Housing Clinic (Mondays and Thursdays 7:00PM-8:30PM at our office: 24 Crescent St. Suite 201 Waltham MA 02453) offers housing search assistance in person.

For landords: WATCH CDC accepts postings at the office address (above) as well as by email at

General Housing Search: Craigslist and Hotpads

If you have access to a computer/the internet, the two best options for a general online housing search are Craigslist and Hotpads (see below).

Craig's List allows you to search for apartments with "no fee." A fee is paid to a real estate agent and usually equals one month's rent. Bear in mind that other sites (listed below) generally list apartments with fees.

Finding an Apartment on Craigslist Boston:
1) Go to
2) Under “housing,” click “apts/ housing”
3) Click “all no-fee apartments”
4) Craigslist is organized by date with the most recent postings first.

Narrow the search to a particular town by typing the name of the town into the “search” bar.

5) If you want to limit the search results to those in a certain price range, you can type in the boxes labeled “min” and “max”
6) You can also specify the number of bedrooms that you are looking for.

**Keep in mind that, sometimes, “1 bedroom” or “2 bedrooms” at a very low price are actually houses of people looking for roommates, and not a one or two person apartment.**

Creating an Account on Craigslist Boston:

1) Enter your search criteria (town, #bedrooms, price range), then click Search.

2) Click "Save Search." You will be prompted to create an account using your email and a password.

3) You will then receive an email whenever a new listing matches your search criteria.

Responding to a Post on Craigslist That DOESN’T Have a Phone Listed (click here for an email template):
1) Go to “reply” in the upper right part of the screen
2) Copy the craigslist email address at the bottom of the pop-up menu that appears (it’s written under “copy and paste into your email”)
3) Paste that address into the “To” bar of your email
4) In the Subject of the email, type the title of the Craigslist ad
5) In the body of the email, introduce yourself, ask to see the apartment/ if it’s still available, tell them generally when you’re free, leave a way to contact you (either an email address or a phone number)

Finding an Apartment on
1) Go to
2) Click the tab near the top of the page that says “for rent”
3) Enter the town/ city into the search bar then click “Enter”
4) Change the number of bedrooms, put in a Maximum price (click “go” to search)
5) You can either use the map to click on locations or the list. With the map, click “more info” for a more in depth look at the property. If you’re interested in looking at the place, click “Show Phone Number” to get in touch with the realty company or landlord

**Unlike Craigslist, apartments on Hotpads are sometimes rented through a company which means that they will charge an extra fee.**

Affordable Housing Websites:

Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership
MBHP also offers many other services but these are apartment listings for no fee apartments meant to reach the community that needs affordable housing.

The Housing Consumer Education Center of Massachusetts offers a wealth of resources for people on all sides of housing. Contact their resource line for help finding housing: call (617) 425-6700 or email at

Click “Renters” to view a list of resources for renters and rental housing owners. Also available here are the MassHousing Housing Lists which include the MassHousing Rental Housing List, Section 8 Properties (link to pdf) in MA towns (these are limited to developments, not single apartments).

Use this link to find affordable housing in Boston and the greater Boston area. You can search for current units available and sign up for the Metrolist email list to receive updates when new affordable units are listed.

MassAccess: The Accessible Housing Registry
These are affordable homes and apartments throughout Massachusetts that are also geared towards people with disabilities (“barrier-free housing).

To use the site, fill out the “Quick Search” questions on the home page. With this site, broader answers to the questions are better because of the limited postings.

Senior Housing Net
Search for senior-specific housing by type (varying levels of care) and location. 

Metro West Collaborative Development
The site offers many other services for renters and landlords etc. They also offer a few postings of affordable units for rent.

Housing Works
(617) 504-0577

Rental Housing Deals - "Equal Housing Made Simpler"

Go Section 8

Public Housing

Roommate Searches:

**Also see “Finding an Apartment on Craigslist Boston” above

Housing for Students:

Search by college or university. Also a good way for current student renters to find other students to sublet (in cooperation with the landlord).