Finding A Place
If you are renting in Bellingham for the first time, looking for an apartment or house can be a little daunting. To help you out, we have listed some ways to look for houses below. Before renting a place, be sure it is registered with the City of Bellingham’s Rental Registration and Safety Inspection program database (see www.cob.org/rentals - “List of Registered Properties”).
Please note: Western is not associated with the third party search engines listed on this page. We have included these sites to help students in their search for housing, but are not responsible for the content on them – questions about a specific site should be directed to that site’s webmaster.
Word of Mouth
This is the best way to look for a rental! Try talking to any friends you have that already live off of campus; if their landlords rent any other properties, you can possibly snag a rental before it gets advertised to other people, or have a great character reference!
Western's online forum is a great way for students, faculty, and staff to look for roommates, subletters, or someone to take over a lease!
Walk around neighborhoods near campus in March or April and write down phone numbers of rentals you like that have ‘For Rent’ signs.
RentHoop is an app for iOS and Android phones developed by a Western Alum to help students safely, and easily find a roommate. It can be tough to find that perfect person(s) to live with when you're new to a city or your friends already have people they're living with. RentHoop empowers you to find a roommate on your smartphone at your convenience in a way that is much more fun than the traditional method of scrolling down pages of roommate listings. RentHoop was featured by the Western Front, visit their page for the full story!
Apartment Guide helps connect apartment consumers to their ideal place to live. With the largest inventory of multifamily apartments, students won’t have to waste their valuable time looking elsewhere. The site has interactive maps, HD video, and a variety of other resources that make it an excellent resource for the apartment search process.
Trulia provides real estate information with detailed graphical neighborhood data so students can view available rentals, commute times, affordability, crime reports, hazard maps, and points of interest, all in one spot.
Zillow is a living database of all homes in the country. Zillow allows university students to see available rentals near their campus, as well as neighborhood walkability and transit scores that affect their decisions on where to live.
HotPads is a map-based apartment and rental home search engine, listing homes for rent, apartments, condos, and real estate. At HotPads we believe you should love where you live. We also know that finding that perfect apartment can be difficult and stressful. We're here to ease the pain of looking for your next apartment by helping renters make smarter decisions about where to live and what neighborhoods to live in.
Free map-based search for home & apartment rentals with real-time updates. Sort listings by price, number of bedrooms, cat friendly, dog friendly, pet friendly, and time posted. Available on iOS & Android.
Along with other resources available on Homes.com, the site has a rentals page customized for WWU students. The map based search makes to easy to find homes and apartments for rent and shows each units distance to campus and price per bedroom.
JustRentToOwn is a leading alternative rental listing service with a primary focus on houses, townhouses, and condos. This is a great option for students and newly independent adults, especially those who do not have perfect credit. Individuals will deal directly with homeowners, (not management companies) who need them, and are willing to go on a renters terms. No one is under any obligation to purchase the home and there are short term leases available. For exclusive full-access to all rental listings free of charge, use Login: firstname.lastname@example.org and Password: 2135681540
ABODO specializes in helping people find the perfect place to live. Our map based search is easy to use and lists up-to-date rentals near WWU. Students can narrow their search with their price range, desired neighborhood, number of rooms, and more.
RentCafé is a trusted resource for renters throughout the U.S., listing apartments and houses for rent directly from property managers. All listings are verified and students can easily browse apartments, check real-time availability, view property details with large photo displays, floor plans, amenities, and more. RentCafe.com is also one of the few sites that allows renters to apply online for a lease and receive approval notifications from property managers
Area Vibes has livability and housing information for thousands of US cities and neighborhoods, with information like cost of living, crime rate, amenities, etc.
A great resource, but beware of scams!
Make sure that when you are looking for a rental, you involve your roommates in the whole process! Talk with your roommates about a price range, where you would like to live, and other things that are important to you. Rental units can also be found by utilizing the services of a professional property management business or by visiting the on-site leasing office of apartment complexes. These businesses can often be located by searching Yelp or using other online search engines.
The lawful living situation for residences zoned as single-family residential units is stated in Belligham Municipal Code 20.08.020.F as: "One or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption, or not more than 3 unrelated persons, living together within a single dwelling unit."
Further information and resources concerning property owner/tenant issues are available from the Associated Students Legal Information Center and from the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. If you are renting within the Bellingham city limits, you should contact the Crime Free Multi-housing Program. State and Federal laws and University policy do not permit discrimination in the provision of housing on the basis of race, color, age, or national origin.
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