Where Should I Live?

Finding a good place to live takes time, but remember there are a lot of choices. If you're wondering whether you should live on-campus or on-campus, here are some things to consider:

1) Availability:
Space in the UW residence halls (dormitories) is limited. If you want to live on campus, you should apply to a residence hall as soon as you can. Generally, the best, least expensive, and most convenient places to live near the university are often filled 2-3 months before a new quarter begins. 

2) Convenience:
If you live in residence hall, you will only need to walk a short distance to classes. Off-campus apartments can be either near or far to campus, but you can usually walk, bike, or bus to the university from many apartments in the University District. There are several other neighborhoods with good buses to the University, including Green Lake, Wallingford, and Ravenna.

3) Furniture:
Residence hall rooms come with furniture (beds, desks, chairs, closets, etc.) They also have free cable tv and internet access. Off-campus housing may be furnished or unfurnished, and you may need to set up your own telephone, internet, and utilities.

4) Food
Some residence halls have only limited access to kitchens, and others have in-unit kitchens if you want to cook for yourself. Most residence hall rooms come with a required "dining plan," with a range of levels you can choose from depending on your needs. Choices range from salad bars and sandwiches, to pizza and international food. If you live off-campus, you can cook for yourself - this can be cheaper, healthier, and more flexible than on-campus dining. Please remember that eating at restaurants can become expensive if you do it a lot!

5) Condition:
Residence halls are clean and well-maintained; some are brand new or have been open only one or two years. Cheaper off-campus apartments can vary in quality; however, most can be made comfortable. Before signing a contract (lease) for an apartment, make sure to walk around with the landlord and write down any repairs needed for their information and for yours. Make sure the place you want to rent is clean and has everything working well. 

6) Privacy:
Residence halls house hundreds of students, so sometimes it can become noisy. Most residence hall rooms are shared with at least one other person, so you will need to make adjustments and be flexible. However, living in the halls does provide a social atmosphere and the chance to meet friends. If you live off-campus in a room in a shared house, you will also have several people living in the house with you. Living in an off-campus apartment may be quieter, more private, and you can also have more choices about how you live.

7) Legal Obligations:
Contracts for both residence halls and apartments are legally binding documents. Residence hall contracts are for the academic year, but you can leave early by paying an extra fee. Apartment contracts (leases) are more difficult to break; however, you choose the length of a lease before you sign it. Talk about this with your landlord or with Student Legal Services before you sign a lease.

8) Cost:
Residence hall costs for room and meals are usually similar to apartment costs off campus. Depending on the neighborhood, you may be able to rent inexpensive off-campus housing with other students and share food, rent, and other costs. 

9) Living with a Roommate:
Sharing room or apartment with people can be an interesting experience. To have a good living situation, you should be open and communicate honestly with your roommates. It is a good idea to talk about issues such as privacy, using the phone, schedules, study and social habits, food, chores, cleaning, and finances before problems arise.

On-Campus & Campus-Affiliated Housing

When to Apply

Acceptance to the UW does not mean you will automatically be able to live in the residence halls. If you want to live on campus, you should apply to a residence hall as soon as possible - applications are prioritized by the date they are received.

Autumn applications for returning residents are typically available in early April and the application for new students is typically available in early May. By August much of the on-campus housing is full, so apply early!

For information on the different types of on-campus student housing available, please contact UW Housing & Food Services:

Address: 1045 NE Campus Parkway, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98105

Telephone: +1 (206) 543-4059
Email: hsfinfo@u.washington.edu

How to Apply

You must apply for housing through the Housing & Food Services website and pay a deposit. If you are accepted, you will receive an assignment email (for 9-month residence hall or 12-month apartment) or an offer for an apartment (for family housing). Offers are sent out during the end of summer for autumn move-ins. Remember, getting on-campus housing is not guaranteed, even if you apply.

Moving In

The UW Residence Halls open a few days before classes begin, so if you move in before classes start, please remember that food services are limited before the first day of class. 12-Month apartment move-in is scheduled for mid-September. Family housing move-ins are arranged the housing office. Move-in appointments are scheduled Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. 

NOTE: If you are arriving for Autumn Quarter International Welcome Weeks and would like to move in to the residence halls before they open, you may apply for Early Arrival Housing in August. Please see the HFS website for details.

Early Fall Start Housing

Residence hall housing is available to eligible students registered for the Early Fall Start (EFS) program even if you do not plan to live on-campus for the remainder of the academic year. Review the helpful information regarding EFS Housing found on the following website: https://www.earlyfallstart.uw.edu/housing/, including a link to submit your housing application to UW Housing & Food Services.

Please contact HFS at hfsinfo@u.washington.edu if you have any questions about on-campus housing.

Off-Campus Housing

Many students choose to live in off-campus housing (either in an apartment or a room in a shared house) during their time at the University of Washington. Here are some online resources that current and former UW students have recommended to help you find off-campus housing:

1) FIUTS UW International Students Facebook GroupStudents in this group often post about housing being offered, or seeking roommates.

2) University of Washington Housing Facebook GroupYou will need a UW email address to join this Facebook group, which is a forum for current and future UW students to post available housing and discuss housing issues.

3) Craigslist and Padmapper.com are popular websites for finding rental housing in the Seattle area. Roomlet can help with verifying if a listing you found online is legitimate.

4) Local newspapers also have housing listings; students recommend the University of Washington Daily in particular, as well as The StrangerThe Seattle Times, and The Seattle Weekly.

5) Students often find housing by walking around the University District neighborhood looking for the "For Rent" signs displayed on local apartments and houses. Many available rooms and apartments are not listed online, so walking around to look is a great way to find a place to live as well as to get a sense of the neighborhoods and the commute to campus.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rental Housing in Seattle:

Should I try to arrange housing before I arrive or wait until I get to Seattle?

It's up to you; some students do successfully secure housing in advance. However, many find that it's difficult to make a decision when they have not seen the place or met the landlord or roommates in person, and landlords are often hesitant to rent to students who are still overseas. Most rental housing is posted on Craigslist and other sites a few days or a couple of weeks before it's possible to move in.

Even though you might choose to wait to begin your search and send inquiries, it's a good idea get an early start researching your options. Spending some time on the sites listed above will help you to understand the different types of housing available, the neighborhoods you would prefer to live in, the typical prices, and the process for renting in the United States.

How long does it take to find rental housing?

One you begin your search, finding housing can take anywhere from a couple of days to a several weeks - it depends on your budget, your requirements, where you want to live, and the timing of your arrival. Be persistent, do some research ahead of time, and talk to other students in order to find a place more quickly!

If I'm searching online, do I need to be worried about housing scams?

Online scams do happen occasionally, so be careful! Be aware that if you start contacting potential landlords prior to arriving in Seattle, you need to use caution when making arrangements with people you do not know, and do not wire money overseas to individuals you have not met.

How much will I need to pay when I move in?

Most rentals will ask you to pay the first and last month's rent plus a security deposit when you sign the lease, so be prepared that the initial cost of renting will likely be significantly more than just one month's rent.

What will I need to have in order to begin my housing search?

You will may need a local phone right away to arrange appointments to view apartments and houses, since some landlords prefer to coordinate over phone rather than email. There are many stores close to the University where you can purchase a U.S. phone or SIM card.

You may also need a local bank account since most places will want you to pay with a check or will need proof that you have enough money in your account to pay the rent. There are many banks in the University District that have lots of experience helping international students to open accounts.

What do I do about furniture?

Though some apartments come furnished, furniture is not included in  most apartment rentals and you will usually be responsible for buying your own furniture. Craigslist is a common website to find inexpensive, used furniture. Alternatively, many students also rent furniture while they are in Seattle through CORT Rental Furniture. This is often cheaper and more convenient than buying.

Where can I stay in Seattle until I find permanent housing?

Take a look at our page of temporary housing options.

Long-Term Homestays

A homestay is a great way to get to know the local culture and practice your English language skills. If you are looking for a longer-term homestay, here are some local companies and organizations that may be able to connect you with a homestay host. (This list is provided as a resource to you; FIUTS is not affiliated with and does not necessarily endorse any of these options.)

Abode Homestays
20126 Ballinger Way NE #84
Shoreline, WA 98155, USA
Telephone: (206) 527-8654
Fax: (206) 524-7780
Website: http://abodehomestay.com
E-mail: info@abodehomestay.com

Intercultural Homestays
P.O. Box 27184
Seattle, WA 98125, USA
Telephone: (206) 367-5332
Fax: (206) 367-5320
Website: http://ihincusa.com
E-mail: ihincusa@aol.com

Experience America Homestay
4556 University Way NE #200
Seattle, WA 98105
Telephone: 206-355-7885
Website: http://www.experienceamerica.com/homestay/students/
Email: homestay@experienceamerica.com

USA International, Inc.
9614 NE 201st St.
Bothell, WA 98011, USA
Telephone: (425) 483-5974
Fax: (425) 485-1891
Website: http://www.ushomestay.com
E-mail: info@ushomestay.com

Seattle Homestay
P.O. Box 25615
Federal Way, WA 98093-2615, USA
Telephone: (253) 835-4337
Fax: (253) 835-4341
Website: http://www.seattlehomestay.net
E-mail: info@seattlehomestay.net

Seattle Homestay Agency
P.O. Box 93056
Harrison Street, WA 98109, USA
Telephone: +1 (206) 201-2085
Website: http://www.seattlehomestay.us/

American Homestay Network
8201 164th Ave NE Suite 200 Redmond, WA 98052, USA
Telephone: (425) 285-4466 Fax: (925) 396-7063
E-mail: info@homestaynetwork.com
Website: http://www.homestaynetwork.com