Moving to Somerville

Welcome to Somerville! We’re excited to have you become a part of our vibrant community. On this page, you’ll find some links and resources to help you get moved into the city. Use the tabs below to get help with parking, trash and recycling, setting up your utilities, and more.

  • Parking in the City

  • Getting Rid of Trash and Recycling

  • Setting Up Utilities

  • Register to Vote & Know Your Officials

  • Stay Informed & Get in Touch

  • More Information for Renters

  • More Information for Buyers

Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England, so parking is always at a premium. If you’re lucky enough to have a driveway, use it! Make sure you know the parking rules if you want to avoid getting a ticket or inconveniencing your neighbors.

Get a Permit for Your Moving Van

You can reserve a parking spot before you move. That way, you won’t have to worry about finding a spot on the big day. Here’s what you need to know to get a permit:

  • You can find the application for a moving van permit here.
  • Permits cost $40 per day. If you want to put a sign up to reserve your spot, you can pay an extra $5 for a sign.
  • If there’s a meter, you’ll need to pay an additional $35 per day to reserve the spot.
  • You’ll need to buy the signs at least 4 days before you move, and post them at least 2 days before you move.
  • Don’t forget to call 311 and let them know about your sign.
  • If you mail in your application, you can pick up the permit within 10 business days. If you bring it to us, we’ll take care of it right away.

Once you’ve filled out your application, mail or bring everything to:

Traffic and Parking Department
133 Holland St.
Somerville, MA 02144

You can find more information and rules here.

Get an Annual Resident Parking Permit

If you'll be keeping a car in Somerville, you'll need a resident parking permit for your car, which costs $40. The permit is good for up to 12 months, depending on where you live and what time of year the permit is purchased. Here's what you'll need to apply:

  • A copy of your vehicle registration showing that your car is garaged in Somerville.
    • If your car is already registered in Massachusetts, you can find the steps to amending your registration here.
    • If you're coming from out of state, you can find the steps to amending your registration here.
  • Proof of residency, like a gas or electric bill. Leases only count as proof for temporary permits. Find more information about what we’ll accept as proof here.

Once you have an updated registration and proof of residency, you can apply for an annual resident parking permit online. Or, you can print out this application and bring it to the Traffic and Parking Department.

Need Extra Time to Get Your Registration Updated? Apply for a Temporary Parking Permit

If you're still waiting on an updated vehicle registration or proof of residency, you can apply for a 30-day temporary parking permit free of charge. Just fill out this application and bring it to the Traffic and Parking Department.

How Parking Works in the City

  • Street Sweeping: The City regularly cleans the streets from April to December. Look at the signs on your street to see when we’ll be in your area. You can also use the Somerville Waste Wizard to see the street sweeping schedule for your neighborhood.
  • Snow Emergencies: During the winter, we might have to declare a snow emergency so we can plow the streets. When that happens, you may need to move your car to the other side of the street, or to a designated lot. You can find more information about snow emergencies and where to park here.
  • Parking Tickets: If you ever get a parking ticket, you can pay or appeal your ticket at the Traffic and Parking Department's website, ParkSomerville.com.
  • Visitors: Expecting company? You can apply for a two-day or three-day visitor parking pass. These passes are good for up to 12 months (depending on where you are in the city and what time of year you purchase the pass). Apply online or fill out this application and bring it to the Traffic and Parking Department.

You’ll probably have a lot of trash to get rid of after unpacking. Thankfully, most of your trash is probably fine for curbside pickup. Use the Waste Wizard to find out how to get rid of a certain item. Here’s what you need to know about trash and recycling pickup in the City:

  • Your trash must be kept in waterproof, covered barrels during the week. This helps with rodent control and keeps litter from blowing into the street. When you put the trash out for pickup, you can leave the cover open if need be.
  • You can put your trash out as early as 4 p.m. the day before your pickup day, or no later than 7 a.m. the day of pickup. Make sure to bring your empty barrel back in by 7 p.m. on pickup day.
  • Use the Waste Wizard to find out when trash collection day is for your neighborhood.
  • You can put your moving boxes out with your recycling. You’ll need to break them down into 3’x3’ pieces and tie the bundle together.
  • You can put out small appliances with your trash, though we’d prefer if you brought them to the Electronic Waste Recycling Program at One Franey Road.
  • Thanks to our Zero-Sort machine, you don’t need to sort your recycling! Things like cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard, and paper can all be put in one bin.

For more information, visit our Trash & Recycling page, or call 311 (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville)

Once you get unpacked, you’ll need to do a few things to register as a resident. First, you’ll want to set up your utilities. The following companies provide service in Somerville:

Cable & Internet

Electricity

Gas

Water & Sewer

Trash & Recycling

Don't forget:  Hold on to your first few utility bills, as you’ll need them to register for other City services (like parking permits).

Register to Vote

If you're over 18 and an eligible voter, you can register to vote in Somerville online, in person, or by mail. You’ll need a valid ID and an updated address and signature with the RMV. Learn more about registering to vote here.

Know Your Officials

The City of Somerville is broken up into seven wards, and each ward is made up of three precincts. Your ward and precinct number determine where you vote and who represents you in City government. Look up your ward, precinct, and elected officials with MySomerville.

Ward and precinct map

Get Free City eNews

We’ll let you know about important information in the city, like severe weather alerts and parking emergencies. There are several ways to stay informed:

Follow Us on Social Media

Keep track of what's going on in Somerville with the City's official accounts:

To follow other Somerville departments, like the Arts Council or Somerville Public Schools, check out our list of social media accounts.

Questions and Service Requests: Contact 311

311 is the City’s customer service line. We can help you with things like reporting a pothole, paying a parking ticket, and more.

  • By phone: Dial 311 from any phone in Somerville (617-666-3311 outside of Somerville).
  • Download the 311 app on iOS or Android.
  • Follow 311 on Facebook or Twitter

Visit Us in Person

There are plenty of resources available to you whether you rent or buy your home. Here, you’ll find ways to get help with tenant’s rights and lease information, emergency resources, and more.

A Brief Overview of Tenants' Rights

It’s important to know your rights as a tenant. It’s illegal for landlords to discriminate based on race, religious beliefs, disabilities, age, or any other status. There are some exemptions for certain types of housing, like single-sex facilities and elderly housing. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against, call the Somerville Fair Housing Commission at (617) 625-6600 x2577.

Landlords can only ask for certain types of deposits and fees. By law, they can ask for:

  • First and last month’s rent
  • A security deposit equal to one month’s rent, and
  • A fee to buy new locks.

Landlords and brokers cannot ask for:

  • A deposit to hold the apartment
  • An application or credit check fee, or
  • A finder’s fee for their own apartment, unless they’re the Realtor.

Landlords must keep your security deposit in an escrow account and give you the receipt. They must also send you a written statement of the apartment’s condition within 10 days of getting your deposit. This is to prevent them from charging you for damage that was already there. The deposit collects interest each year.

Brokers might charge a finder’s fee on top of your landlord’s fees. The broker must give you written notice of how much the fee will be, and you’ll both need to sign it.

Your landlord must make sure your apartment is in livable condition. Things like defective heating and electrical systems, broken toilets, bug infestations, and other health risks are violations of the state’s sanitary codes. If you notice these or any other issue that puts your health at risk, contact your landlord. Then, call the Somerville Inspectional Services Department at (617) 625-6600 x5600.

Get Help With a Housing Emergency

The Housing Division offers a number of programs to help homeowners and renters in Somerville. Our goal is to create and manage affordable housing in the City. We can help you find resources to prevent housing emergencies, like evictions and landlord disputes. Some of our services include the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Homelessness Prevention Program, and landlord/tenant mediation. If you need help, call us at (617)625-6600 x2560.

You can also contact the Somerville Housing Authority to get help with subsidized housing for low and moderate-income families. Visit their website to see affordable housing units in the City. Or, contact them at:

Somerville Housing Authority
30 Memorial Rd.
Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 625-1152

There are plenty of resources available to you whether you rent or buy your home. Here, you’ll find ways to get help with buying and improving your home.

Homeowner Opportunities

The Inclusionary Affordable Homeownership Program makes home ownership affordable for first-time buyers. Sign up to get newsletters from the City whenever a place is available. To qualify for the program, you’ll need to take a first-time homebuyer class with the Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative. You can find more information on their classes here.

Clean Energy Initiatives

The Somerville Community Choice Electricity program lets residents and businesses buy their electricity in bulk. The program reduces the cost of electricity for participants and promotes the use of renewable energy. It also locks in rates for 30 months, so residents are protected from rate increases during the winter.

The Somerville Energy Efficiency Now! Program (SEEN) connects residents with energy efficiency programs through MassSave. They offer free energy audits and resources to help you cut down on energy usage. They’ll also help you find discounts on home improvements that will cut energy costs in your home.

To learn more about these and other clean energy programs, visit the SustainaVille page.

Renovating Your Home

You may need to get a permit if you want to make changes to your home. The Inspectional Services Department handles zoning and permitting for construction. If you’re unsure whether you need a permit, contact the Department at (617) 625-6600 x5600. Once you know what you need, you can apply for a building permit online.