Apartments of all kinds are available in neighborhoods all over Seattle, particularly around Seattle Central. Following are some guidelines on how to start your apartment search:

Before You Begin

Before you begin your search, ask yourself the following questions:

• What is my Budget? Be sure to include expenses like Utilities and Parking
• Do I need furnished housing?
• How close should I be to Public transportation, grocery stores and restaurants?
• How long will I need to rent?
• What kind of housing do I need?

What Will You Need?

The rental process moves very quickly here in Seattle. It really helps to be prepared. Here is a list of common information you will need for housing applications:

• Contact information
• Addresses of Previous tenancies
• Contact information for previous landlords
• Proof of funding or Income
• Proof of Employment or Proof of Student Status
• Vehicle Information
• Emergency contact information

Credit Scores and Background Checks

Some renters may require a credit or background check. A U.S. Social Security number is necessary for a credit or background check. Students who do not have a social security number are advised to prepare additional documentation of financial resources (scholarships, bank account funds, etc.) as part of a supplemental packet.

Types of Housing

  • - More privacy and flexibility
  • - More choice in location, layout, and location of housing
  • - Get to choose to live alone or with roommates
  • - More expensive
  • - May have to set up utilities
  • - More responsibility
  • - Cultural experience
  • - Opportunities to practice English
  • - Food and meals are provided
  • - Do not have to set up utilities
  • - Less privacy
  • - Less choice in location
  • - Must live with others

How To Find Housing

Ask your friends!

Your friends are often the best place to start your search. If you will live with roommates, it is always better to live with someone you know!

Review apartment resources

Seattle Central College has many apartment resources available for international students, including a list of apartments buildings near campus, names of agencies providing apartment services, and online resources. All resources are detailed on our website.

Viewing / Visiting Properties

Safety Tips:

- It is a good idea to bring a friend when looking at a place for the first time!
- Trust your instincts. Do you feel safe?
- Take a cell phone with you

Here are a few factors to consider when searching for a place to live:

- Safety: Do you feel safe walking around the neighborhood at night?
- Are you close to public transportation? Will you need a place to park your car?
- Are you close to restaurants and grocery stores?
- Does the apartment allow you to have a pet in the building?
- What utilities are included in the rent?
- What other amenities are available (bike or storage lockers, communal spaces, gym, etc.)?

Remember to start looking early: Give yourself 4 weeks or more to find housing.

Glossary of Common Rental Terms

Tenant - one who rents property owned by another.
Landlord - the owner of property.
Lease - a legal contract between a tenant and a landlord. There are different types of leases:

  • Short Term Lease - Short term leases are generally 3-6 months long. Short term rooms, homestays or apartments may come furnished with a bed or other accommodations.
  • Academic Year Lease - Some leases are designed for students and follow the academic calendar. Academic year leases in Seattle generally run from September to July.
  • Yearly Lease - Yearly leases run 12 full months from the date of signing. This is the most common lease.
  • Sublease - when a tenant rents out all or part of the apartment while still maintaining a lease with the landlord as the primary tenant. Many leases do not allow subleases.

Security deposit - money paid to the landlord as security in case of damage to the property or failure to comply with the lease agreement. All or part of this money is usually refundable.
Background check - a check of your credit and rental history done by the landlord to ensure that you will be a good tenant. This is done before you sign a lease.
Furnished / Unfurnished - indicates whether the apartment comes with or without furniture. A furnished apartment will have basic furniture such as tables, chairs, sofa or beds. An unfurnished apartment will provide no furniture: the tenant must rent or purchase furniture for the apartment.
Utilities - typically, public services provided for homes and apartments, such as electricity, gas, water and waste diposal (sewer), garbage and recycling services. They may also include services like cable television or internet service.