Homeownership Guide

Congratulations on your new home! We’ve put together a list of resources for new and current homeowners. On this page, you’ll find information about loans, zoning laws, permits, and more. Use the tabs below to explore.

If you’re new to the City, you might want to visit our New Resident’s Guide

  • Address-Based Information

  • Property Taxes & Payments

  • Permits & Zoning

  • Affordable Housing Resources

Trash, Recycling, and Street Maintenance

City services are scheduled for your neighborhood based on your address:

  • To find out when trash day is, use the Waste Wizard. You can also use the app to find out how to dispose of specific items.
  • April 1st to December 31st is street sweeping season in Somerville. You’ll need to park somewhere else on the days we sweep your street. You can use My Schedule to find out when we’ll be on your street next.
  • In the event of a snow emergency, you may need to move your car so the city can plow the streets. Learn more about how snow emergency parking works and sign up for emergency alerts here.

Water and Sewer

The Water and Sewer Division maintains clean and safe drinking water for Somerville residents. They’re responsible for things like issuing water bills and handling water outages:

  • You can pay your water bill online here.
  • If you have a problem with your water service, you can file a report by calling 311 (617-666-3311 from outside the City).
  • To learn more about water and sewer fees, boil water orders, and more, click here.

City Government and Elections

Elected Officials, Ward and Precinct, and your polling place are all based on your address. Enter your address here for more information. To learn more about elections and City officials, visit the Elections Department.  

 

The Assessor’s Office is responsible for estimating property values in the City. The Assessor’s Database has records of current and historical property values, which you can access here. If you need to pay your Real Estate or personal property tax bill, you can do it online here

The Planning Division manages building projects and zoning laws throughout the City. You’ll need to go through them to get permits for things like extending or remodeling your home. You can learn more about the zoning approval process here.

If you live in a protected historic zone, you may need to get special approval from the Historic Preservation Commission. You’ll need their approval for things like exterior work, demolition, carriage house usage, and other changes. Visit the Historic Preservation page for more information.

The Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Fund helps preserve and create affordable rentals and homes in Somerville. All projects and programs benefit low to moderate income families that are at or below 110% of the area median income. You can learn more about the Trust Fund here.

Housing Rehabilitation Program

We offer 0% interest, deferred payment loans to homeowners who want to improve their homes. The loans are payable when you decide to sell or transfer the property. You can get approval for a wide range of repairs and remodels, as long as the work meets or exceeds the HUD’s Quality Standards. We strongly encourage green building designs and universal design elements. Click here to learn more about the program and eligibility.

Heating System Replacement

We offer forgivable loans of up to $4,500 to income-eligible homeowners to repair or replace their heating systems. We encourage homeowners to use Energy Star products that meet energy efficiency standards. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about income requirements and program restrictions here.

Utility Assistance and Energy Efficiency

Also known as Fuel Assistance, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a state-run program to help families pay for winter heating bills. Eligible households may qualify to have a portion of their heating bills paid by the state. They’ll also receive a discounted rate on their utility bills. To see if you’re eligible, contact the City of Cambridge Department of Human Services at (617) 349-6252.

Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) offers insulation and repairs to help families stay warm and conserve fuel in the winter. If you qualify for fuel assistance, you’ll also qualify for the WAP. For more information, call (978) 459-6161.

Lead Hazard Abatement Program

Homeowners and investors can get 0% interest, forgivable loans to help with removing lead from their property. The program helps property owners meet state and federal laws to create a safe environment for their family or their tenants. Funding is based on the number of eligible units and types of repairs. Click here to learn more about income eligibility and program restrictions.

Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP)

HMLP is a state-funded program that provides loans to make modifications to residences of elders or people with disabilities. The program helps people stay in their homes and live more independently in their communities. Depending on income, you can borrow up to $30,000 for modifications. Visit Mass.gov’s HMLP page to learn about eligibility and how to apply.

Condominium Conversion Review Board

The Review Board oversees and enforces condo conversion laws in the City. They aim to protect tenants who live in rentals that are being converted to condos or removed from the market. The Housing Division works with the Board to manage applications and documentation for conversions. They also conduct public hearings each month. To learn more about the condo conversion review process, click here.

Foreclosure Prevention

If you’re at risk for foreclosure or are already in foreclosure, we can help. Contact any of the following resources for assistance: