The unneccessary death of Binland Lee

The Globe starts a series on the perils of off-campus housing in Boston with a detailed examination of how the BU student died in your basic Allston rat-trap of a student house last April.

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    Sad.

    But don't worry, new "luxury" housing is popping up all over Boston, that'll solve all of the housing issues!

    Seriously though, this is really tragic. And what choice do these kids have? Go into debt paying unreasonable room and board fees at their respective universities, pay insane rent for a "good" apartment, or basically suck it up and deal for a few years? I don't understand how the city can keep building in the wrong direction and not hold anyone responsible. Hoping Marty Walsh's housecleaning at the BRA is just the start of something a lot bigger.

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    This. A thousand times, this.

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    This. A thousand times, this.

    I was actually pretty frustrated to see the first in this series, and the proposed sequels. Yes, conditions were awful. Regulators failed. Landlords were brutally exploitative.

    But in the end? This comes down to zoning. There's far, far more demand for housing in the city than there is supply. Neighbors often demand that universities construct additional housing for their students. But when they try? Many of the same neighbors complain that the proposed buildings are out of scale with the neighborhood, likely to overwhelm it, blocking sunlight, too modern, or what have you. The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay renewed its objections last year to any dormitories or college housing befouling their pristine, wealthy neighborhood, specifically trying to shoot down a plan by Fisher College. It took Northeastern years to break ground on its GrandMarc residence hall, despite being obligated to build the darn thing, because of the opposition of neighborhood groups. Suffolk proposed a 22-story building on Beacon Hill, and Menino shot it down. I could go on, and on, and on. And that doesn't even take into account the private market - Boston's zoning blocks the sort of private development necessary to keep demand in balance with supply. It's incredibly expensive to build in this city, partially due to legitimate expenses like the cost of union labor, materials, and building in crowded areas, but mostly because the process gets drawn out for years. You've got to be willing to start investing in the project years before you break ground, spending on attorneys and pr firms, funneling contributions to the mayor for help from the BRA, hosting community meetings, and then chopping height off the initial proposal and forking over community benefits. The only way to amortize that cost base is luxury housing, so that's all we get.

    And then the Globe gets all moralistic on us, and pins the blame on regulators, landlords, and students for flouting the rules. Really, Boston Globe? Really?!? Let me posit a counterfactual. Suppose the landlords were all honest, the students doing their best to abide by the rules, and the regulators utterly diligent and scrupulous. If they shut down all the overcrowded student units in the city, where does everyone think the students would go? The bottom line is that students are living in these conditions because that's the housing that's available for them. The solution isn't tighter regulation. It's more housing. And shame on the Globe for putting together an entire series without including that front and center.

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    True, but

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    It doesn't excuse slumlords putting their tenants in danger.

    I might be naive on this, but are you claiming that in the City of Boston, there are not 3 bedroom apartments to be had for less than $2100 a month, or $700 per person, or $8,400 a year per person?

    But sure, a property owner crams as many people in a house as possible, in violation of building and fire codes, but it is BU's fault.

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    There are, but they are in

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    There are, but they are in Dorchester, Mattapan, and possibly East Boston.

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    Moving to Eastie

    was the best living decision I've ever made. The minor inconvenience of being at the mercy of bridges and tunnels is nothing compared to the benefits.

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    In addition to NIMBYs not

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    In addition to NIMBYs not wanting more dorms, the prices that colleges charge to SHARE A BEDROOM with another person in some gross cinderblock walled dorm with no kitchen are ridiculous. Even with the ridiculous rent that landlords charge in Allston for disgusting hovels, you're still paying less than you would to share a bedroom with some stranger with no way to cook your own food.

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    Ridiculous is in the eye of the beholder

    If the colleges aren't requiring students to live on campus, and if the dorms are full, then, pretty much by definition, the prices charged by the universities are not out of line. If they were, then students wouldn't live on campus, and the dorms wouldn't be full.

    The problem is that the

    By on

    The problem is that the universities have continually been increasing their student enrollment, without building more dorms.

    That results in higher rents for crappy dorms and crappy off-campus housing.

    It's better to live a little bit inconveniently than unsafely.

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    I'd rather have relatively minor inconveniences such as a cinderblock bedroom and the possibility of sharing a room with another person than to live in a (supposedly cheap) deathtrap bedroom/studio in a rattrap hovel in Allston or wherever, if push really came to shove and I had to make a choice between those two.

    The colleges and universities help cause this problem, imho,

    By on

    by admitting many more students than they're able to handle each year, due to being too preoccupied with making money hand over fist, inotherwords, making a profit at the expense of people, and by refusing to build more on-campus student housing. What about the hotels in and around Boston? Why couldn't/shouldn't the hotels in this area work out some sort of an arrangement with the colleges and universities around here and agree to take in at least a limited number of students of the schools of higher learning in this area? That, too, could well go a long way towards alleviating the illegally overcrowded housing that all too frequently results not only from slumlords' deliberate and criminal violation of health and safety codes, but would also limit the college/university encroachment into nearby neighborhoods. This is not a be-all-end-all solution to the problem, but it would be at least temporary until more student housing could be built, and it would be a big step in the right direction, to boot.

    So what if students have to put up with a certain amount of inconveniences, rules and regulations? It won't hurt them, and, in fact, may even teach a lot of these young students something about having some respect and consideration of the people around them. Anybody who's old enough to go to college is old enough to have some respect and conderation for their neighbors, as far as I'm concerned.

    Those houses in Allston looked like they were once pretty nice houses at one point, before the original families cashed out, sold their houses and moved elsewhere. The houses were undoubtedly bought up by slumlords, who illegally converted them into overcrowded rooming houses without finding out about the code/regulation information first, and then refuse to rectify the situations when city inspectors found that they were in violation of the code(s) in question.

    I also might add that, when students insist on living off-campus, all too often, they're setting themselves up for risky situations that are a threat to health and life in some way or other, as well.

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    Pay Attention

    Why couldn't/shouldn't the hotels in this area work out some sort of an arrangement with the colleges and universities around here and agree to take in at least a limited number of students of the schools of higher learning in this area?

    Did you not notice the two new huge towers BU built for students? Are you unaware that BU provides on-campus housing for all undergraduates who want it (provided they don't move off campus and want to return) and when BU can't meet the needs they already rent hotel rooms for students? BU would house 100% of undergrads, in hotels if needed, if 100% wanted to live in the BU system.

    Are you unaware there is huge community opposition every time any school tried to build a new dorm that is on the edge of campus?

    I know people think universities should build walls and prevent students from leaving campus. That won't happen nor should it. Students are adults and have just as much of a right to rent property as anyone else and a notable amount of students would rather live 9 people in a overpriced shitty duplex where they are near other students, can have parties, and are a short walk to class. That's not BU's fault, It's squarely Boston's fault for not enforcing codes.

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    I disagree with you somewhat, BostonDog.

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    First of all, nobody's saying that the Universities and colleges should build walls around their campuses. Secondly, yes, I have noticed the tall towers in Kenmore Square that are for BU students.

    Thirdly, there's often been huge opposition in nearby neighborhoods/communities to the expansion of the college/university campuses into their neighborhoods, because lifetime and longtime local residents of those communities/neighborhoods in question are justifiably fed up to the teeth with the colleges and universities constantly encroaching into their neighborhoods and destroying the overall character of a neighborhood, driving the rents sky-high so that many of the locals and longtime residents can no longer afford to live in them, and because they're sick and tired of the quality of life being diminished due to the constant all-night raucous partying, etc., that many students regularly engage in.

    Having said all of the above, it's no small wonder that the lifetime/longtime residents of those neighborhoods are up in arms and uptight about it.

    Secondly, BU does bear some responsibility for the situation, as do other colleges and universities in this area, because they're too busy making a profit at the expense of people, as do city landlords.

    Well, unfortunately, however,

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    much of the fault also does lie with regulators, the city, landlords, the college and university administrations and many students themselves, because, all too often, they do flout the rules and regulations, with impunity. This happens constantly, but the Allston housefire that resulted in injury to several of the people in that house, as well as the needless death of a bright young woman is about the most grotesque example of what can result when rules are so flagrantly violated on a regular basis.

    If the Globe didn't expose the fact that this stuff is happening, it wouldn't be doing its job. So, the Glob isn't to be condemned for "going all moralistic" on everybody, imho.

    It's also true that many (though certainly not all) students think they can flout the rules and regulations without repercussions, and/or get away with it. Hopefully the latest incident resulting in code violations by a slumlord, and not such responsible behavior by the city and students themselves will teach a lesson to more people about the consequences of their actions.

    One of the zoning issues

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    One of the zoning issues affecting housing availability is single family zoning. If 12 students are living in a 3 bedroom house that is illegal if the house is zoned single family; however, 12 related people could live there legally. This restriction of the definition of a family is likely not constitutional.
    Single family zoning has been challenged in court. I remember a case in Newton when a group of students brought the city to court over whether they could live in a neighborhood zoned for single families only. The students, with the assistance of their landlord, claimed that they were a family because although unrelated they cared about the welfare of one another. That is, they claimed a family is any group of people related or unrelated living together who consider themselves a family. The students didn't win the case; because by the time the case wended its way through the courts some of the initial plaintiffs had moved on.

    Maybe some folks here are aware of other cases around this issue.

    discriminatory zoning

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    In Boston, it's illegal for more than 4 undergrads to live together. Even if the house was originally designed with more than 4 bedrooms.

    This restriction does not apply to people who aren't undergrads.

    I don't see how Boston can justify this. Why is it safe for non-undergrads to be overcrowded? And why can't Boston acknowledge that some units can legally and safely house more than 4 people?

    Maybe if the most common student housing wasn't declared illegal, students would be more willing to call Inspectional Services to deal with the *real* safety problems, like blocked exits and faulty wiring.

    There is also something to be

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    There is also something to be said to the colleges who admit far more students than they can house. They are making money off this situation, too.

    This is a horrible story...and, yes, very sad, to boot!

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    The city should force landlords to bring their property up to code, or face jails/fines for not doing so.

    Secondly, when colleges and universities encroach too deeply into nearby neighborhoods, they do push out lifetime and longtime residents/locals in their areas not only by the fact that many students insist on partying until all hours of the night, getting drunk and vandalizing, brawling, relieving themselves and puking all over people's back yards, but they drive the rents up sky-high so that many of the longtime and lifetime local residents of the neighborhoods in question can no longer afford to live in those areas.

    The death of Binland was totally sad...and needless, to boot. Had the landlady not managed to hide behind the bankruptcy protection and do everything she could to avoid bringing her property up to code, had BU refrained from expanding so deeply into the Allston-Brighton area, and had the city gotten down on this landlady for her criminal behavior that resulted in the death of one student in the housing and injury to several others, this tragedy wouldn't have happened.

    Having said all of the above, I believe that there was plenty of responsibility for Binland's unnecessary death to go around: Boston University for not building more on-campus housing, the city for not cracking down on slumlords to bring their properties up to code, and, in this case, the students themselves for acting in ways that endanger others, by smoking, etc.

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    B. U itself is partly responsible:

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    BU itself is also partly responsible for not building more on-campus housing for students, and so is the city for not forcing landlords to bring their properties up to code or face jail/fines.

    A no-win situation.

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    One must bear in mind, however, that it's a no-win situation. Rental apartments in Boston are often quite expensive, and, all too often, slumlords take advantage of students and/or even ordinary or poor people who are desperate for housing, especially students who are from out of town and really don't know the ropes.

    If I were the parent of a student in college, especially one in an urban area, I'd advocate for my kid(s) to live in more protected university dorms or apartments, due to security, and other protection. It's very difficult to know what one's getting when they rent independent off-campus apartments, plus many young students really cannot be trusted to act responsibly when they're in independent, off-campus housing.

    The choices of going into debt and/or paying crazy rents for a crappy bedroom or studio in what are all too often in rattrap off-campus housing are not pleasant choices, but if I had a kid in college, I'd rather dig somewhat deeper into my pocket book and pay for him or her to live in a safer, more secure place on campus, even it if meant a little bit more inconvenience. The same thing would apply if I were a student now and had to make a choice between secure on-campus housing and ratttrap housing off-campus.

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    Tragic

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    This is an upsetting story, absolutely terrifying because I remember the days of visiting people in those rattrap apartments, and living in ones where the second egress was an 18" wide strip of rusty iron, no steps, to an interior courtyard with no street access.

    According to BU's website a single room in an apartment is $14,020, or divided by 9, $1560 a month! (Subtract out $100 for utilities, and it's $1460....for just the room.)

    That means a 4 bedroom apartment is being rented for $5840 a month., a two-bed for $2920. On the open market, is this is comparable to the new luxury apartments being constructed in the neighborhood. Yet BU and the other colleges are charging this rate for run-of-the-mill brick prewar buildings that are unrenovated: apartments that, outside of the university housing system, rent for $1800 for a 2-bed or $2800 for a four-bed.

    The universities need to focus on building more corridor-style dorms with single rooms sharing a common bathroom: upperclassmen are adults who rightly want privacy in their bedroom, not a bunkbed. Making it that the only way to get basic privacy is to pay $1500 a month or more, or move off-campus into an inferior rat-trap, is ridiculous.

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    BU presently houses some 77%

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    BU presently houses some 77% of its students - a better ratio than almost any other school in the city. On the other hand, it's so huge an institution, it's also the single-largest source of student living off campus in the city.

    There were, as of 2010, roughly 61,000 full-time students living off campus within the City of Boston. Some 46.5% of undergraduates live off campus, as do the vast majority of graduate students.

    BU, to its credit, is doing what it can. It's renovating its older dorms to make them more attractive to students. It's building a third riverside tower, between the first two. But it's running out of room. It's had to shut down students housing in Audubon Circle, because neighbors objected. Neighborhood groups also adamantly oppose any new dorms being built outside the existing campus. So where is BU supposed to house its undergraduates?

    The solution here isn't just allowing universities to build new, tall dormitories. It's demanding it, and then pulling out all the zoning stops to help them do it.

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    Get over it

    I just don't see how people can blame the universities for the living conditions in Allston. They publish the prices for dorms, apartments, and tuition on the website. It's expensive but it's on campus, safe, and good repair. If you can't afford it don't enroll -- don't blame BU for some shitty landlord's horrible code violations. Students can find reasonable rents but they are going to have to go further then the B-Line to do so and many students are too lazy or unaware that you can live in other parts of Boston or across the river and still make it to class.

    Is it BU's fault students don't want a 30-45+ minute commute to class? Is it BU's fault students want to live in someplace they can have keggers and vaporizers, something every university prohibits? If BU where to buy up houses in Allston and rent it for market rates to the legal number of residents (or just BU students) people would go nuts saying BU is pushing out locals or overstepping their bounds.

    As the article says, it was BU who called inspectional services long before the fire to report possible issues. Why not blame Inspectional Services who dropped the ball again and again and again? They are the ones who screwed up -- BU already went beyond their responsibility in trying to keep students safe.

    The blame is squarely on the landlord and the city. Boston should have condemned the property until it was brought up to code. (But if Boston did this to every place over capacity area rents would go up even more.)

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    Universities are partly responsible for this mess, imho.

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    By not putting a cap on annual student enrollments and admissions and by not refraining from encroaching so deeply into nearby neighborhoods, colleges and universities are also contributing greatly to the problems not only of overcrowding, but rowdy, drunken partying, brawling, vandalism by students who also relieve themselves and puke in people's yards at all hours of the night, not to mention playing loud music, at top volume, really destroying the quality of life and the character of a neighborhood. it's no wonder that so many of the lifetime and longtime residents resent the presence of the students. Nobody says the slumlords who manage these properties, do everything possible to avoid bringing them up to health and safety codes, make as much of a profit as they can by packing in as many students as possible into overcrowded places, and, in general, take advantage of students who want to live off campus, especially those who are recently from out of town and don't know the ropes, aren't to blame, because they also are, as is the city. So are many students themselves for acting in dangerous, irresponsible and unsafe ways that endanger themselves as well as everybody around them. Imho, there's plenty of blame to go around.

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    So....

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    So....what does this:

    The blame is squarely on the landlord and the city. Boston should have condemned the property until it was brought up to code. (But if Boston did this to every place over capacity area rents would go up even more.)

    mean? That rents shouldn't be raised in order for landlords to make repairs on the house, and that the city and the University shouldn't force them to do so? if that be the case, I strenuously disagree with you here, BostonDog.

    Unfortunately, BU and other colleges/universities in this area do have a long history of overstepping their boundaries and pushing out locals, as well as young professionals and Seniors, and not cracking down on slumlords and rowdy all-night partiers.

    No Win

    My point is that the schools can't win. If the laws are enforced (and I think they should be) then housing prices rise and people blame BU for basic laws of supply and demand. If BU tried to build and/or buy more housing, and they have, people get mad and say BU is making a land grab and "pushing out locals". BU built two huge new high rise dorms and they instantly sell out. But then people inexplicably blame BU for charging too much. (Oh and people also blame BU as "pampering" the students.) As someone pointed out BU already houses more students then any other college in the city. Only 22% choose to live off campus.

    Unfortunately, BU and other colleges/universities in this area do have a long history of overstepping their boundaries and pushing out locals, as well as young professionals and Seniors, and not cracking down on slumlords and rowdy all-night partiers.

    So what's the solution? BU called the city to report the slumlord and the city did nothing! BU can't legally go beyond that -- they don't own the house and they aren't a governmental authority. Why isn't Boston PD responding to calls of loud parties and enforcing the current laws?

    On the flip side lets say all the students moved out of Allston. Many of these places would be fixed up and sold/rented to rich young professionals and people would start saying the yuppies are pushing out the seniors and families, just as they say about every other neighborhood in Boston. The fact remains that if you are a middle class family in Boston there is not a lot of ideal housing options due to supply and demand.

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    Did it also ever occur to you and many other people that

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    BU and the other colleges and universities in the area contribute a great deal to these problems, because they're so preoccupied with making money hand over fist that they admit many, many more students than they're able to house?

    If the colleges and universities here in this area would put a cap on the number of annual enrollment/admission of students, that would go a long way towards solving these problems, imho.

    Bullshit

    BU can house 100% of its undergraduate students. If they run out of dorms they rent hotel rooms. They have been doing that for decades when they run out of beds. Google it.

    A small percentage want to live off campus. They are adults and have every legal right to live where they please. If the city enforced its own laws there would be far less problems with unsafe buildings, loud parties, etc. As the article said, Boston knew about these problems and choose to do nothing. The student who died could have lived on campus but choose to move in with a bunch of friends in a building not up to code. How is this BU's fault?

    BU has also been reducing the number of incoming students for several years now. And every University has a cap on the number of students they take in.

    Since when can BU house 100%

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    Since when can BU house 100% of it's undergraduates? I'd be interested to see your source on that, because I am pretty sure they house less than half of their students. It's not like BU is sitting on hundreds of empty dorm rooms because students are living off campus. Also, if I recall correctly, the days of renting hotel rooms for students was for incoming freshmen, the only people who are guaranteed housing, and it was because BU routinely admitted more students than they could house.

    Read This

    They publish the guarantee on the website but you can also read the first paragraph on the wikipedia page:

    http://www.bu.edu/housing/living/current/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_University_Housing_System

    The way it works is that the guarantee is broken if you move off campus. So you can't rent a local place for sophomore year and then return for your Junior year. But if you stay in the system you'll be assured a place to live. I think this is for undergrad only.

    If every student wanted to live on campus they'd need to rent a lot of hotel rooms so they are banking on a notable percentage of students moving off campus. But they make it easy to stay for the majority who want to.

    Fair enough

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    Fair enough- I should have googled more before I wrote my post. They make space for everyone who is in the system, who wants to stay in it, and I think that's a great step in the right direction.

    As much as I am frustrated with BU, and the behavior of some of their students, I acknowledge they have been looking to fix some of the problems with their relationship with the community.

    Back in my day

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    (CLA Class of 1993)

    Undergrads were guaranteed a dorm room. Heck, by the end they were forcing scholarship students to stay on campus for 4 years (and I will note that my scholarship did not cover room and board.) That's how desperate they were for students to live on campus. My high school classmates who unfortunately ended up at BC were guaranteed only 3 years, and one poor soul was admitted without housing.

    The issue at BU is cost, from what I have read. Even Ms. Lee justified moving off campus as a means for saving money for grad school. Of course, there is also leaving the shackles of restrictive campus housing, but in end off campus is cheaper.

    I believe BC still doesn't have enough dorm spaces for undergrads. They should tear down any "mods" that are left and put up some high rises. Heck, tear down Edmunds and put up a 16 story building with reservoir views.

    As for grad students, they should be able to fend for themselves. I know the difference is only a few years, but if you are in grad school, you should be able to handle things. I believe the numbers in the Globe today are for total student population, but I may be wrong.

    BU housing 100% of its students?

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    They are adults and have every legal right to live where they please. If the city enforced its own laws there would be far less problems with unsafe buildings, loud parties, etc. As the article said, Boston knew about these problems and choose to do nothing. The student who died could have lived on campus but choose to move in with a bunch of friends in a building not up to code. How is this BU's fault?

    First of all, if students wish to live where they please, they should start acting like adults, and not insist on engaging in these raucous all-night parties that spill out into the neighborhoods and disturb the residents of those areas who just want to get a decent night's sleep so they can go on with their daily lives/business during the day. While not all of the students who live off-campus are like that, there are an awful lot of them who need to learn some respect and consideration of the people around them.

    Secondly, if Binland Lee's needless and unfortunate death, and the fact that several other students were injured in that house fire on 87 Linden Street (and the fact that there've been other fires prior to that) are any indication, the students often put themselves at risk in terms of their overall health, safety and security, as well as their lives, by insisting on moving into housing that's not up to code.

    The fact that students are often willing to risk limb/life/

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    The fact that students are often willing to risk limb, life, health and overall safety and security by moving into these unsafe hellholes just to save money is ludicrous, and rather sad, to boot. Binland Lee thought she was moving into a better, cheaper place in order to save money and be with her friends, but oh boy, she turned out to be wrong, as her unfortunate, untimely and unnecessary death indicates.

    Overall solution:

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    Maybe the overall solution, then, is the for city to crack down on the colleges' and universities' encroachment into nearby neighborhoods, as well as cracking down on landlords who violate the code(s) with impunity, and cracking down on students who regularly hold loud, raucous parties 'til all hours of the night and disturb local residents and professionals who just want a decent night's sleep so that they can go about their daily lives/business each day.

    I also stand by my position that there's nothing wrong with BU and other large colleges and universities here in this area putting a cap on annual student admissions. They're not going to want, and it would probably do the colleges and universities, as well as the city, and students themselves some good.

    original commenter here

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    I went to BU and lived in their dorms all four years. The dorms are clean and well run, and I felt the extra expense was worth it, so I wouldn't have to live somewhere dangerous or neglected.

    I wrote the first comment not because I think its the school's faults in any way, but because I think the universities are not building the kind of housing their students want. Older students want privacy and affordability, not a choice between luxury apartments or triples with bunk beds near screaming freshmen.

    The on campus housing market needs to provide better options for upperclassmen, who mostly want to be left alone to study- they don't care about scenic vistas and stainless steel fridges. I think this point is often never brought up as universities race to build luxury accommodations that the average student doesn't want and can't afford.

    Why do students move off campus

    I'm not sure money is the issue. We moved off campus at a certain point so we could drink. I didn't smoke weed but that might also have something to do with it.

    In addition we moved out of the dorms so we could get some sleep.

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    I grew up moving every 2 years

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    and the only constant in my life was a then-12-year-old cat, who wasn't welcome at any official student housing. She's 19 now and dying, and I'm sure glad I only lost one year with her (mandatory on-campus housing freshman year) instead of four.

    I'm a very private person and I was placed in a triple in a dilapidated brownstone. Being at the mercy of strangers 24/7 in that messed up environment without my one "security blanket" was absolutely miserable and if I had to endure more than 1 year I would have dropped out.

    Plus, don't forget then mandatory meal plan (at that time approaching $6k) when my "dorm" was almost a full mile away from the nearest dining hall!

    Mandatory on-campus housing is exploitative and often damaging to students. It's a shame that Boston doesn't have better options available, but I'd take a deathtrap studio or a private bedroom in a shared apartment over the on-campus options any time, any day. I would literally prefer to die in a fire than live in my freshman dorm conditions ever again.

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    I have to disagree with what you say, shrandersdice.

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    I feel the opposite way that you feel about dormitories for students. If push came to shove and I had to make a choice of living in a B U Dormitory or BU apartment, I'd take the on-campus housing any day over some death-trap studio or private bedroom in some off-campus rattrap house or apartment building, where a slumlord puts his/her tenants in danger by violating the code and refusing to bring his/her property up to code. At least I'll survive to finish my education.

    That landlady of 87 Linden Street in Allston acted in a most vicious, criminal manner by doing everything she possibly could to avoid bringing her building up to code, endangering others, and resulting in the death of Bindland. She should be in jail, imho.

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    BU is particularly bad about holidays and summer

    If you have a summer job in the area, and go to BU, you have to find summer housing.

    If you can't afford to fly to Florida, get home, or need to study or work nearby during breaks, same problem. They close the dorms.

    My MIT living group typically gained 3 or 4 people during BU breaks and holidays because BU locked people out.

    Also, the cost of on campus housing has gone stratospheric now that country club chic is in. My husband thought $15K a year room and board at Lesley was high - until I showed him what the budget is for other schools, some of which we know have pretty crowded and worn out spaces.

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    Yes! My partner went to BU

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    Yes! My partner went to BU and moved off campus (we live in Cambridge and the rent is relatively cheap because our building is about as well maintained as the Allston deathtraps). He ended up saving money because it was something like $900 a month for a shared room at BU, pretty ridiculous. The international students and students from far away got pretty screwed trying to find places to stay over breaks.

    The college I went to didn't make students go home over holiday breaks which was really nice. There was also the option to stay over the summer and during winter break, too.

    No upperclassman housing

    When I was an undergrad, freshmen were required to live on campus and sophomores were guaranteed housing, but juniors and seniors had to enter a housing lottery for the remaining few rooms. I lived off campus because my other options were to live in a tent in the woods behind grad housing, or to say "fuck it" and move home with my parents.

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    Frankly, I don't think money is an issue in this instance.

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    When students move off campus, they want to have some semblence of independence, but I think that a lot of these students can and should wait until they're able to handle their newfound freedom and independence before making the leap, if one gets the drift.

    Not true, criminals are

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    Not true, criminals are charged with crimes and sometimes even go to jail! A landlord can kill you and she'll get off scot free.

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    But...

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    This:

    A landlord can kill you and she'll get off scot free.

    is so far beyond disgusting and vicious that it's not even funny.

    The landlord has blood on her

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    hands. She knew what kind of danger she was putting these kids in. Forget lawsuits. She needs serious jail time for this gross negligence.

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    She sure as hell DOES have blood on her hands, DJH.

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    I hope to hell she goes to jail for her criminal behavior, but the city is at fault for not cracking down on people like this landlady at 87 Linden Street, as are BU and other colleges and universities here in the area for insisting on enrolling far more students than they can handle, and encroaching so deeply into nearby neighborhoods, not doing anything to alleviate the problems, and not cracking down hard enough on students who act rowdy until all hours of the night, at their neighbors' expense..