Frequently Asked Questions

Renter's Guide

How long of a renting period, generally, are leases for?

Most leases in Bellingham are for 12 months, but other rental periods are also possible.

What if I want to move out early?

According to the Landlord-Tenant Act, if you leave before your lease agreement concludes, you must pay either the remaining months of rent or the rent owed to the landlord before he/she was able to re-rent your unit (whichever amount is less).

Is subletting legal?

Only if your landlord allows it! However, if your landlord or property manager does, they will probably address regulations surrounding subleasing in your lease. Check your rental agreement for ‘subleasing’ or ‘subletting’ sections, or ask.

What costs are included in rent?

Rental costs vary from unit to unit, depending on what is agreed upon in the lease. Sometimes the “rental cost” may include the unit, electricity, gas, cable, internet, and garbage. Other times it may only include the unit and garbage. Make sure to check your lease agreement before signing!

How is rent decided for different sized rooms?

Your rental price is determined by the landlord or property manager. Because of this, they decide the price variance. As one may assume, normally a larger room will have a higher price.

Who has to fill out a renting application?

Anyone that will sign the lease and live in the apartment needs to fill out the rental application. You are each paying your own portion of rent; thus, you are each held responsible.

Who qualifies as a cosigner?

Your cosigner can be any fiscally responsible adult. They tend to be a family member or employer of the person leasing the rental.

What is a cosigner for?

Many students often don’t have good enough credit to rent a house, and so a landlord will often ask for a cosigner, who ‘vouches’ financially for the potential renter and agrees to pay their rent if the potential renter is unable to.

My rental application asks for my income. Do scholarships or loans count?

Yes! Make sure on your rental application to include any scholarships, grants, and loans in the income section.

When is the best time to look for a(n) house/apartment?

Generally in Bellingham, if you’re looking to start leasing for the next school year, you’ll want to start the spring before. Check out our section here that talks about finding a place!

Can we suggest/make changes in a lease agreement before signing it?

Yes, you can certainly discuss changes with your landlord or property manager before signing the lease. Remember, however, to get these changes in writing!

Page Updated 04.04.2014