Room Transfer Policies


Residents with continuing housing status (i.e., renewable housing contracts) are eligible to change rooms and room types through the annual internal room lottery each May. Incoming officers may also elect to participate in this process. Note that there is a $200 transfer fee to change rooms in the internal housing lottery.

The following is a brief overview of the procedure. Note, however, that anyone who enters the internal lottery should be sure to first read and understand the more detailed policies below.

  • If you have continuing housing status, renew your contract with the MIT Housing Office.
  • A list of available rooms will be publicized on this website on Wednesday April 23rd, 2014. Look at the list of available rooms and vacancy dates, noting that in-house moves MUST be completed by August 20th, 2014. (If you plan to change rooms and will be away for the summer, you will have to vacate your current room before you leave, since it must be available for a new resident by August 21st, 2014.) Visit any specific rooms you think you might want to move to.
  • Submit an online ballot with up to 10 choices for rooms or room types by 11:59 pm on Monday April 28th, 2014. If you want a specific roommate (who must also be eligible to participate in the internal lottery), be sure that both of you list each other on your ballots.
  • Results will be sent out on Thursday May 1, 2014. Seniority points (based on house service and length of residency) will be used to determine the sequence of room assignments.
  • Note that these results are binding. If you receive a new room assignment through this lottery, you must take it. In addition, for those entering into the Internal Housing Lottery by merit of holding an officer position for the 2014-2015 academic year, your assignment is contingent on satisfactory service in your position. The Sidney Pacific Executive Council, in consultation with the Housemasters, reserves the right to terminate assignments at any point should an officer prove defunct in their duties.

Please note that the MIT Housing Office makes room assignments for first-year residents who get re-assigned to Sidney-Pacific. Thus, with very few exceptions (other than officers), first-years do not participate in the internal lottery.

Detailed Administrative Policies


The internal housing lottery provides an opportunity for Sidney-Pacific residents with renewable housing contracts (i.e., continuing status) to change rooms or room types and for incoming officers to select rooms.


The internal housing lottery is open to Sidney-Pacific residents with renewable housing contracts and to incoming house officers. Current first-year residents who have one-year contracts are ineligible (unless they become officers); they must instead enter the continuing housing allocation and if successful will receive notification and be assigned a room by the Housing Office. ELIGIBLE RESIDENTS WHO WISH TO REMAIN ASSIGNED TO THEIR CURRENT ROOMS SHOULD NOT ENTER THE LOTTERY; THEY WILL KEEP THEIR ROOMS BY DEFAULT.


Participants in the internal housing lottery will be given the opportunity to list their top 10 preferences for rooms and/or room types. Participants not awarded a room through this process will remain assigned to their current rooms. Seniority points will be used to determine the sequence of room assignments; ties among participants with the same number of seniority points will be broken randomly.

Seniority points

Every resident earns one resident seniority point for every semester of residence in Sidney-Pacific. Officers may earn up to two additional officer seniority points for every semester of holding office. Any resident who provides exceptional service to the house may be awarded an additional service seniority point per semester at the discretion of SPEC with recommendations from residents and the house council. Check your seniority points.


Both parties need to be eligible for the internal housing lottery, and both parties must indicate their desire to live with each other on the online ballot. The seniority points between the two parties will be summed to determine their selection priority within the lottery.

Co-ed housing pilot program

In continuation of the 2009 pilot program, co-ed housing will be available to a limited number of continuing residents who specify roommates of the opposite gender. The co-ed pilot program policies are as follows:

  • The number of co-ed rooms allocated through the internal lottery will be capped at 12.
  • If one roommate in a co-ed arrangement moves out partway through the year, the Housing Office will attempt to fill the vacancy with a new resident of the same gender as the remaining roommate (thus reverting the room to single-gender). If Housing is unable to do so, however, the remaining roommate must be willing to either (a) have a stranger of the opposite gender be their new roommate; or (b) move to another room, provided space is available.
  • If the co-ed program is not extended beyond 2014-15, residents in co-ed rooms may keep their arrangement until one of the roommates moves out.

Capacity limitations

In order to ensure a diverse resident population, the number of beds allocated to students in the internal housing lottery will be capped at 70% of all the beds in each wing or floor. No current residents will be displaced by this rule; if a wing or floor currently exceeds this cap, it simply means that no new beds will be allocated in the particular floor or wing.

Move-out / move-in dates

Move dates are subject to the following constraints:

  • Rooms will not be available for move-in until a few days after the previous resident moves out, so that cleaning and necessary repairs can occur. Toward the end of summer (the busiest time of year), 4-7 days may be required. The "Vacancy Date" shown on the list below is 2 days after move-out, which is the earliest date a room could be available in the best-case scenario.
  • If your housing contract ends on August 15, 2014, you may move into your new room assignment earlier (by specifying a move-in date when you sign your new contract), if that room has an earlier vacancy date. Alternatively, if your room becomes vacant earlier, you are not required to move in as soon as it becomes vacant - you may select your move-in date (as long as it's before August 20, 2014).
  • Doubles and quads that change gender through the internal lottery will not be available for move-in until the LATER of the vacancy dates. More precisely, if both rooms of a two-bedroom suite are on the vacancy list and a resident of gender opposite to the current residents chooses the room, he or she will not be able to move in until both current residents have moved out.
  • All moves must be completed by August 20th, 2014 (excepting moves to rooms that only become available in September). In particular, if you will be away for the summer, please vacate your room before you leave: it must be available for a new resident by August 21st, 2014.

After the conclusion of the internal lottery, Housing will contact each resident who is changing rooms to coordinate his or her precise move date, which can be any date within the above window. (Note that there are no rent penalties for mid-month moves within Sidney-Pacific. Rent is prorated for in-house moves between room types.) Each resident will then be issued a transfer letter confirming and approving the room transfer. To obtain keys and coordinate their physical moves, residents should contact the House Manager at sp-housemanager [at] mit [dot] edu.


Lottery results are binding. Participants in the internal room lottery who decide to forfeit their new room assignment will be fined $300 and will be ineligible to enter the next two internal room lotteries. This penalty will also apply to residents who do not vacate their old room by the move-out date (as arranged with the House Manager).


Lottery participants will be responsible for the rent associated with the new room type. The current rent schedule for the remainder of the 2013-2014 academic year is as follows:

  • Two Bedroom Quad: $760
  • Two Bedroom Double: $1139
  • Single Efficiency: $1280
  • Two Bedroom Two Bath Apt: $1280

The 2014-2015 rent schedule is as follows:

  • Two Bedroom Quad: $787
  • Two Bedroom Double: $1179
  • Single Efficiency: $1325
  • Two Bedroom Two Bath Apt: $1325

There is an additional house tax of $6 per month.


I want to live at Sidney-Pacific. How can I live there?

Check out the SP Housing Flow Chart.

I want to change my room. How can I do this?

Once a year, Sidney Pacific holds an internal housing lottery for residents with continuing housing status and incoming officers. If you would like to make a request to change rooms outside of this lottery process, please fill out the Room Transfer Request Form.

I'm a first-year student, and I've applied to the continuing student housing assignment process. I want to stay in Sidney-Pacific, and I want to keep my room. What do I do?

The continuing student housing assignment process is totally independent from the Sidney-Pacific government and is run by the MIT Housing Office. If you get reassigned to Sidney-Pacific, the MIT Housing Office will try to give you back your current room. If you currently live in a double, it is likely that you will get back your room. If you live in an efficiency, there is a larger chance that your room will be taken in the internal lottery and you will have to move. Either way, there is nothing you need to do (or can do) beyond entering the continuing allocation.

I am eligible for the internal housing lottery and would like to stay in my current room, but I don't see my room listed as available in the online room ballot. What do I do?

You don't have to do anything. The default option is for you to keep your current housing assignment. Your room is not listed as available to prevent other people from selecting it. Just make sure you renew your contract with the MIT Housing Office.

I would really like to move into a different room. However, if I don't get it, I want to stay in my current room. Do I have to list my current room as one of my preferences?

No. By default, if you don't get any of the rooms you indicate, you'll stay where you are. This again explains why the rooms of people who are continuing residents (yet intend to switch) are not on the "available" list.

I am currently in a double and want to stay in my room but would like to request a specific roommate. Can I do this?

Yes. If the requested roommate is either an SP resident with continuing housing status or an incoming officer (in other words, someone who is definitely going to live in SP for the coming year), you can simply indicate your preference on your lottery ballot. Keep in mind that this person must also request you as a roommate on their ballot.

The roommate that I am requesting is a prospective incoming student (or a first-year SP resident without continuing status). What do I do?

These cases cannot be accommodated in the internal housing lottery because Sidney-Pacific does not have access to or influence on the list of people who will be assigned to live here for the coming year. However, if you wish, you may enter the internal lottery and request a double with the other room open, by making a note in the "Other Notes" field of the ballot. If the person you wish to live with does get a spot in SP, Housing will assign him or her to be your roommate, assuming of course that the two of you have mutually requested each other. If he or she does not get a spot, however, you will still have to move to the room you have been assigned and will end up living with a "random" roommate.

The reason is that once SP makes internal lottery assignments, we give Housing a list of vacancies, which includes rooms that people are transferring out of. Housing then takes that list and runs their new/continuing allocation -- at which point rooms to be vacated are reassigned, and SP no longer has control over them.

I don't want to request a specific roommate, but I would like to somehow indicate a roommate preference (i.e., religion, ethnicity, vegetarian, night-owl, early riser, non-weirdo, etc). Can I do this?

You may place such requests in the notes section on the ballot. However, we have not implemented a formal policy to handle such requests and there is a good chance we will not be able to put this information to use. The best solution is to find someone eligible for the internal housing lottery that you are compatible living with.

How do I view my seniority points?

Check your seniority points.

How are seniority points treated when two people want to room together (are the points summed, averaged, etc)?

The seniority points of two people who want to room together are summed. For example, if one person has 6 points and the other (the requested roommate) has 4 points, then they will be treated as a pair with 10 points. Together they will have priority over a single person with 7 seniority points who wants a room in the same apartment.

Do seniority points from Ashdown or other dorms transfer over to Sidney Pacific?


I am an incoming officer who does not currently live in SP. Do I have any seniority points?

Incoming officers from outside SP have zero points because points are awarded at the end of each term. However, incoming officers have a better selection of rooms than incoming new students and first-year residents who are reassigned to live at SP.

Why are some doubles named A/B while others named B/C? How do I figure out which letter corresponds to which side of a double? The floor plans don't say.

Believe it or not, the "missing" third letter is the bathroom. The three rooms (including the bathroom) in each suite are labeled A, B, C clockwise as you look at them from main doorway. In particular, this means that the B apartment is always the one adjacent to the bathroom.

Is there any advantage to ranking fewer room choices on my ballot?

No. After the lottery closes, entries are ordered by seniority points and then assignments are made sequentially. You will be assigned your top remaining choice; if all of the rooms you specified have been taken, you'll be re-assigned to your current room.

I don't like making hasty decisions. Can I get an extension on the lottery deadline?

No. The reason for this deadline is so that we can make assignments and then provide the MIT Housing Office with a final list of available rooms (in order for them to begin their housing allocation process to incoming students, re-assigned first-years, etc). The deadlines for the Housing allocation process are set and we (the house government) cannot change them.

Who is in charge of the internal housing lottery?

The Chair of the Halls is responsible for the internal housing lottery. You may ask questions by email (sp-hallchair [at] mit [dot] edu).