FAQs: Seeking Housing

General Information

What type of housing does Bellwether offer?

Bellwether provides permanent affordable rental housing in Seattle.


Do you provide emergency shelter or transitional housing?

No. For a list of organizations that provide emergency shelter contact the Community Information Line by calling 2-1-1.


Do you provide monetary rental assistance?

Sorry, no. For a list of organizations that offer financial assistance contact the Community Information Line by calling 2-1-1.


How do I apply to rent an apartment?

Check out our step-by-step guide for applying.

Why can't I just drop off my application? Why do I need an appointment?

Our rents are affordable because we rely on money from the local and federal government. Using this government money requires that we verify household eligibility. It also require that paperwork be filled out in front of a staff member.

During your application appointment, the Building Manager will collect information about your household's income and assets. The forms that you will need to fill out depend on your household's unique situation.

Is there a fee to apply?

Yes. There is a non-refundable screening fee of $35.00 for each adult applicant. Payment can be made by Money Order, Cashier's Check or Personal Check only; no cash accepted. The fee is solely to cover the cost of screening your application, including a credit check, rental history and public records check.

There is no screening fee for applicants applying at one of our HUD properties.

Does Bellwether accept Portable Screening Reports?

No, sorry.

Can I apply for more than one building?

Once you apply to an apartment, we hold the apartment for you without a deposit until your application is approved or denied. We can only one apartment per household. If you have already applied for an apartment, you must cancel that application before you may submit an application for a different Bellwether apartment.

What if I apply for a unit and then I change my mind? Can I pick a different one?

Applications are valid for 120 days. In most cases, we can transfer your application to a different apartment or even a different building. If you have already applied for an apartment, you must cancel that application before you apply for a different Bellwether apartment. Let the Building Manager of the new building know that you've already got paperwork started at another building. The two Building Managers will cooperate to transfer your file to the new unit.

How long does the application process take?

It varies. It usually takes about 10 business days. We have to collect verification from your landlords, employer, or banks. Sometimes it can take awhile to get information from them. To speed up the process, contact your current and previous landlords, your employer and your case workers. Let them know that they will be contacted and that your application is waiting on their response.

I applied more than 10 days ago, and have not yet heard from the Building Manager. What can I do?

Call the Building Manager to check in. Delays can happen if your employer, bank, or other verifier does not respond to our requests for information. Applications with Section 8 vouchers or other rental subsidies may be delayed if the subsidy provider is unable to complete a unit inspection in a timely manner.

Bellwether contacted me to get more information for my application.

If we contact you to clarify employment, rental or other information, you must provide the information within 72 hours or your application will be stopped.

Can I have a co-signer?

No, you must individually meet qualifications.

Can I be on a waiting list?

Most of our apartments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Waiting lists are kept for subsidized units for very low-income households at properties that have funding from HUD. Each building’s waiting list has different eligibility requirements. Review the Wait List information or contact the Building Manager at the building for information about eligibility.

Qualification Requirements

What are the Qualification Requirements?

Please carefully read the Eligibility and Screening Criteria to see if your household will qualify. Contact us or one of our Building Managers if you have any questions.

I'm a full time student, can I still apply?

If all adults in your household are full-time students, you are eligible for select apartments at these buildings:

  • Annapolis

  • Kingway

  • Meridian Manor

  • Olive Tower

  • The Oregon

  • Vine Court

For all other Bellwether properties (not listed above, not HUD), if all members of your household are full-time students, you must meet one of the following exceptions:

  • Married and filing a joint federal tax return with spouse

  • Single parent with a minor child and neither are dependents of a third party

  • Receiving benefits under Title IV of the Social Security Act (e.g., TANF)

  • At least one student participates in a program receiving assistance under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act or under other similar, federal, state or local laws. (Attach documentation of participation.)

  • Previously under the care of a state foster care system.


How are income limits determined?

Income limits are set each year by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD bases income levels on the Area Median Income (AMI) of the city or county in which the apartment is located.

Bellwether has apartments for households at different income levels. Each income level has a different rent price.

What are Bellwether's income criteria?

Household income must be at least 2.0 times the rent per month OR you must have a rent subsidy or accessible financial assets to cover the gap for the length of the lease.

How is my income calculated?

Bellwether is legally required to calculate the highest possible gross (before taxes) annual income your household may have during your initial lease term. All sources of income for all household members must be disclosed and verified.

I don’t have an income — I’m living off savings or my parents pay my rent. Can I still apply?

All sources of income, including support from relatives and unemployment benefits, count towards your household's eligibility. Assets can be used to meet minimum income requirements.


Does Bellwether accept Section 8 vouchers?

Yes! Learn more here.

What other vouchers does Bellwether accept?

Yes! Learn more here.

Lease Terms

How long will my lease be? Does Bellwether offer short term leases?

We offer 12 month leases. After the 12 months, most leases convert to month-to-month.  

What utilities are included in rent?

All Bellwether apartments include water, sewer, and garbage. Some apartments also include other utilities. Please view the information page for the property you're interested in or contact the Building Manager.

Pets and Parking

Is there parking available?

There is on-site parking at some of our buildings. Please view the information page for the property you're interested in or contact the Building Manager for more details.

Do Bellwether buildings allow pets?

Pets are allowed at some buildings.


Cats and dogs (75 lb. limit) are accepted at: Bellevue/Olive, Cambridge, Casa Pacifica, First & Vine, Genesee, Gilmore, Mercer Court, Meridian Manor, Olive Tower, Oregon, Parker, Rose Street, Security House, Stewart Court, Stone Way, Tate Mason House, and Vine Court.


Cats only are accepted at Graham/Terry and Sterling Court.

Approval for certain other small household animals may be requested in writing. Bellwether limits the number of pets to two (2) per apartment. The pet deposit is $125 and Bellwether requires proof of inoculations, proof of spay/neutering, and a current license. Residents must agree to and follow the Bellwether Pet Policy.

All Bellwether buildings accommodate approved service animals.

Move-In Costs

What are the move-in costs?

The security deposit and first full month's rent are paid at lease signing. Move-in costs must be paid by money order or cashier's check only. No cash or personal checks are accepted.  Upon request, the security deposit may be paid in six equal monthly installments.

If you move in on any day other than the first of the month, the pro-rated rent is due on the first day of the next month. For example, if you move in on July 15th, you would pay August's rent on July 15th. On August 1st, you would pay rent for July 15th to July 31st.

How much is the security deposit?

SRO (single room occupant) = $325

Studio and 1 Bedroom= $375

2 Bedrooms = $450

3 Bedrooms = $500

4 and 5 Bedrooms = $525

HUD Apartments = one month of the resident's portion of rent, with a minimum of $50.

Denied Applications

My application was denied, but I disagree with the denial. What can I do?

If your application is denied and you believe the information upon which the denial was based is incorrect, or if you have additional information that was not considered during the review of your application, you may request an appeal of the decision. Instructions for how to submit an appeal are included on the denial letter.

How can I get a copy of my background screening report?

Applicants may request a free copy of their background screening report within 60 days of application. You may pick up a copy of your report in person from the Building Manager who processed your application, or you may request a copy directly from the consumer-reporting agency:

Moco Incorporated

P.O. Box 2826

Seattle, WA 98111

Phone: (800) 814-8213

Fax: 1-800-257-8893


I don't qualify for housing with Bellwether. Where else can I go for housing?

Other Information

I have a disability, and need a modification made to the unit. How can I request this?

Bellwether provides reasonable accommodations to applicants and residents who have disabilities. Residents with disabilities can request reasonable modifications to their apartments. Please review our Reasonable Accommodation/Modification Request form and contact the Building Manager for more information.

Where do I find answer for questions that aren't in the FAQ?

Please contact any of our Building Managers or email us at bellwether@bellwetherhousing.org.

Bellwether Housing

1651 Bellevue Avenue

Seattle WA, 98122



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Bellwether Housing is a nonprofit 501(c)(3).

Tax ID 91-1116960.

Copyright 2019 Bellwether Housing, All Rights Reserved