Everything Northeastern students need to know for a smooth off-campus move-in 

student pushing a move-in bin off campus
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

It’s coming.

Sept. 1 — the date that brings excitement, nervousness, a little dread and lots of moving trucks — is just around the corner. 

But Northeastern University students choosing off-campus housing have some support for navigating the complexities of the unofficial Moving Day for the city of Boston.

“Because we’ve been doing this coordination with the city and university for so long, we’ve got it down,” says Mallory Pernaa, the university’s director of off-campus engagement and support. “We know what to expect.”

So, what should students expect? Northeastern Global News has you covered.

Trucks and traffic common sight 

Sept. 1 is a big moving day for the city of Boston, as many of the thousands of students coming to study in the area have signed or are signing leases that turn over the first day of the ninth month of the year. 

If possible, Pernaa recommended that students try to see if they can move in some other time over the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 1 is the Friday before Labor Day, this year) in order to avoid the crunch. If that is impossible, however, be aware that moving trucks will be a very common sight in and around Boston on that day, and you should be prepared.

“You can anticipate some traffic changes and some congestion in and around Northeastern and other universities,” Pernaa says. 

Pernaa recommends that students who need a truck should reserve it as early — and in as small a size — as possible. She noted that the last moving trucks available are usually the largest ones and that the selection dwindles at in-city truck rental locations first. 

She also recommends that students be aware that there are a lot of delivery trucks also driving around the city that day, as students’ Amazon orders, mattresses and other new furnishings arrive. 

“Be aware not everyone can have their mattress delivered on Sept. 1,” Pernaa added.

Mattresses must be recycled

Speaking of mattresses, the city of Boston has a new policy this year that old mattresses and box springs must be recycled. Residents of buildings with six units or fewer must call 3-1-1 or 617-635-4500 to schedule an appointment for the city to pick up old mattresses. So, if you’re moving out and replacing your bed, you can’t just put your mattress and box spring out on the curb for the trash truck.

Parking — passes and help

Of course, with all these packed cars, trucks and new students, parking can be a challenge on Sept. 1. Thankfully, there’s help.

Student and staff volunteers will be in two of the most popular neighborhoods for Northeastern students — Fenway and Mission Hill — in order to help manage parking on Sept. 1. Look for red tents and volunteers in red shirts.

The locations are:


Outside the Asian-American Center, 109 Hemenway St., Boston  

Mission Hill

Outside the entrance to Fitzgerald Park, 145 St. Alphonsus St., Boston

The volunteers will have parking passes that enable students to park for one hour in their neighborhood to load/unload. The passes are also available to be printed out online. Fill out the pass completely. 

The volunteers will enforce the strict one-hour limit, notifying the pass-holder by phone when their hour is up in order to prevent tows, as Boston Police will also be in the neighborhoods for traffic control and any necessary towing.

After the hour is up, vehicles must be moved to overflow parking lots. 

Two lots are available:

North Lot

Located on St. Stephens Street, you may park here for one additional hour, after which you may go to Columbus Garage. The lot closes at 6 p.m. on Sept. 1.

Columbus Garage

Located at 795 Columbus Ave., there is no hourly limit on Sept. 1 but the garage closes at 11 p.m. A scan code on the back of the parking pass will give you access to the garage. Moving trucks are prohibited in the garage, which has a strict clearance.

Pernaa notes that volunteers are there to help with parking, not to move your couch up the stairs. For unloading, moving hampers will only be available on Sept. 1 at the North Lot in the Fenway neighborhood or at Squashbusters on Columbus Avenue from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ensure you have an ID with you to sign out a hamper. 

Once you arrive at your apartment

Students moving into an apartment are advised to take pictures of the apartment to document its condition prior to unpacking. The OCES office has a helpful checklist for tenants to fill out to document an apartment’s condition. 

Pernaa noted that Boston has delivery standards for apartments, including that they must:

  1. Be clean and sanitary — “not HGTV clean, but there shouldn’t be things left by residents,” Pernaa adds. 
  2. Have a landlord contact visible in the building.
  3. Have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  4. Be safe and structurally sound.

If you feel that the apartment is not up to standards, Pernaa says you should first contact the landlord or property manager and also report to the city of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department by dialing 3-1-1. 

The BOS311 app will also have an option to submit a report, and ISD inspectors will be in neighborhoods throughout the long weekend, Pernaa adds.

Similarly, students are advised to take pictures before vacating an apartment, and to review their lease for specifications that your landlord may require upon move-out.

Pernaa says that, generally, the busiest time of day on Sept. 1 is from noon to 3 p.m. 

“Mornings are more quiet because most people don’t get keys until afternoon for apartments, and they need time to be cleaned and vacated,” Pernaa says.


So, what if questions come up on Sept. 1? Pernaa recommends students: 

“I’m grateful for the coordination among our city and university departments,” Pernaa says.
“We are all looking forward to assisting students and families with a smooth move into their off-campus apartments this fall.”

Cyrus Moulton is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at c.moulton@northeastern.edu. Follow him on Twitter @MoultonCyrus.