Seattle Off Campus Accommodation Guide
All your questions about renting a place are answered in this Student Accommodation Guide. You can also find a list of renting locations preferred by students and links of the popular apartments and houses around the Universities in Seattle:
Seattle is a seaport city, it’s the largest city in Washington and the west coast of United States. It is home to the University of Washington at Seattle and Seattle University.
Weather in Seattle is almost always pleasant. The winters see rainfall and lowest temperatures in the month of December drop down to about 4.8°C on average. The warmer months of summer have average highest temperatures of about 24°C.
Seattle is an extremely well-connected city with several different modes of transport running on several routes. The Link Light Rail system maintained by Sound Transit has trains running throughout Seattle, at intervals of 6 to 15 minutes depending on the time of the day. The King County Metro Transit Bus system runs in downtown Seattle and outlying neighborhoods of King County. South Lake Union Streetcar and First Hill Streetcar have several stops across Seattle, route maps and schedules are available on their website. Seattle Center Monorail travels between Westlake Center in downtown and Seattle Center and the trip takes just 2 minutes on each side.
Seattle is a comparatively safe city as long as you take care of your belongings and practice common sense and precautions when out and about in the city. It is advised that when you travel, have someone accompany you, especially in the night. When parking the car make sure no valuables are left in plain sight, it is recommended that you put your belonging in the trunk of your car. Some areas to avoid in Seattle are; International District, SODO, Rainer, Beacon Hill, South Park, Othello, Skyway.
Following are some localities that students prefer while searching for accommodation. These areas are relatively near to the universities and safe too.
- University District
- First Hill
- Capitol Hill
There are various options to consider in respect to student accommodation (both on-campus and off-campus). Following are some of the most prevalent housing options that are available to students looking for housing:
University Residence Halls: Hostels or Dormitories that are managed by the University. These options provide expedient access to the amenities rendered by the college on its campus.
Private Student Housing: This kind of accommodation is off campus. Most students share rooms in this scenario. There are many configurations available and the respective terms are as follows: 1b (1 bed), 1b1b (1 bed 1 bath), 2b (2 bed) etc. You can also find studio apartments — These kinds of apartments typically consist of one large room which serves as the living, dining, and bedroom. Kitchen facilities may either be located in the central room, or in a small separate room, and the bathroom is usually in its own smaller room.
Home Stay Accommodation: Underage students who are not eligible to live alone opt for this kind of housing. They stay with a family. These accommodations are in close proximity to the campus grounds.
Generally, on-campus accommodations are limited in number and also relatively expensive as compared to off-campus accommodations and also have restrictions in place. Most international students applying for higher studies opt for off-campus accommodation to save extra Rental Costs as this is a major part of the total living expense.
Student housing options with furnishing are usually a little expensive than their unfurnished counterparts. Hence it is suggested that you opt for an unfurnished apartment and rent or free-cycle the furniture as per your needs. Renting furniture costs can go up to $250 to $400 per month. You can rent furniture via these services — CORT Furniture Rental, Brook Furniture Rental, People’s Furniture Rental.
Security is an important aspect of choosing an accommodation. Some housing societies provide additional security by gating its premises and prohibiting entry to outsiders. Automatic burglar alarms are also an additional feature you can look for safety.
Guidelines to Choose a Roommate:
Ask yourself these questions while deciding on your roommate:
- Do they have a reliable source of income to pay rent and utility bills?
- Do they have pets?
- Can you trust them to be around your personal belongings?
- Are they willing to sign a lease and abide by the terms and conditions?
- How do you plan to split up home responsibilities?
- Who will they have over as guests?
Usually, room sharing is closed over Whatsapp groups or social media.
Amenities to Look for
- Apartment Amenities: Wifi, Microwave, Heater, Refrigerator, Storage, Washer, Dryer, Fireplace. These amenities are basic needs and it is strongly suggested that you look for an accommodation that has these basic appliances and services.
- Community Amenities: BBQ, Swimming pool, Fitness Centre, Study Area, Garage, Courtyard, Bike Storage, Public Transportation, Laundry, Pet Policy
- Bed Bugs — These are common. To prevent bed bugs you can avoid using used/old mattresses.
- Roaches — Safety against roaches can be assured by making sure that the pest control is carried out before you moved in.
- Commuting — Here’s a link to sort you out in Seattle.
- Unsafe area — Walk Score is one website to check the safety score of localities. You can visit here.
- Language or cross cultural barriers — Certain accommodations provide single community housing.
Deposit: Is a security fee that is paid to the landlord in terms of a fixed amount of money. Deposit is refundable at the end of your stay tenure. Average amount for deposits is $150 to $400 (or in some cases one month’s rent).
Application Fee: A fixed amount ranging from $25 per person to $75 per person. This is a non-refundable amount even if you have paid it already and then canceled the booking.
Admin Fee: Selective apartment owners levy this charge on the renters it is a non-refundable amount ranging from $50 to $200. This fee is contributed by everyone who is renting the apartment. The refund policy is similar to the application fee.
Pet Charges: Varies from apartment to apartment. Can range from $5 to $15 per month per pet.
Wait List Charge: An amount that needs to be given to the apartment to lock your request. For some popular apartments, there are wait-list charges (token money) that you have to deposit. It is a non-refundable amount, but for certain apartments.
Booking Charges: The total cost that you end up paying at the time of booking stacks up as follows: Deposit + Application Fee (per person) + Admin Fee + Pet Charges (per pet). In certain cases the apartment may also ask for the first month’s rent.
Social Security Number (SSN): If you are a US resident you need to have a Social Security number to get an apartment on rent. SSN is linked to your credit history report which is
Credit Score:It is a number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness based on past financial history. If you have an impressive credit score the amount for deposit significantly decreases. Some apartments may have a minimum threshold credit score to make you an eligible renter.
Number of Tenants: The max number of people who can stay in an apartment is mostly mentioned in the apartment guidelines. Generally, 2 students are allowed per room (1b — max. 2 students, 2b — max. 4 students) in the apartment. Often, to save rental costs, students accommodate guests for permanent basis without informing the apartment management. This is not advised and may lead to cancellation of your lease agreement. However, you can accommodate guests for temporary basis without any issues.
Lease Duration: In formal leasing agreements, rental periods typically break down accordingly:
- One-year lease
- Six-month lease
- Three-month lease
- Month-to-month lease
Usually a longer leasing period will significantly drop your monthly rent amount. Abandoning a lease can mean serious financial and legal consequences.
Guarantor: In certain cases, the landlord/housing management may require a lease guarantor which acts as a third party to help provide security in terms of the rental. You can get concession in deposits if you have a guarantor.
Lock-In Period: A minimum fixed amount of time before which if the rental agreement is broken, then the tenant won’t get refunds on deposit. The lock-in period varies and is mentioned clearly in the lease agreement.
Agreement Document Requirements: Following are the documents required to process the rental agreement:
- i20 (mandatory)
- Passport (mandatory)
- Visa (mandatory)
- Bank Statement (in certain cases)
- Credit Score (in certain cases)
The agreement needs to be attested (digitally signed or hand-signed soft copy) along with the verification documents for each of the boarders mentioned on the lease agreement.
Rent and Utility Pricing
- For 1 bed 1 bath — $1200-$1800
- For 2 bed 2 bath — $1500–$2200
- For 3 bed 2/3 bath— $2000-$3000
- Studio — $1300-$1700
- Deposit Range (1 months rent) — $200-$600
Utility, Water and Gas bills are exclusive. Here are the average costs of some of the expenses:
(links here are clickable)
- Identity Seattle — 1–2Bed/Studio ($1249-$1649)
- City North — 1–2Bed ($1208-$2055)
- JUXT — 1–3Bed/Studio ($2040-$2500)
You can browse more accommodations in Seattle and surrounding areas via this link: Click Here
How AmberStudent will help you
AmberStudent provides you with 24x7 assistance for apartment search and booking in and around Seattle, to make your renting experience easy. The representatives help you find the perfect apartment as per your preferences. With over 100+ apartments around UW Seattle and SU, you can pick the accommodation of your choice at affordable prices.
-Jashanpreet Kaur Mangat