Affordable rental housing

Last updated: July 20, 2024

Affordable rental search tools

Budget advisors generally recommend keeping housing costs at 30% of your household’s income or less. This can be challenging in the Puget Sound region, especially for families earning moderate to low incomes. The resources listed here can help you find properties that meet your family’s needs and fit your budget.

While eligibility definitions vary, moderate-income properties are typically available to households earning no more than 80% of the area median income (AMI) and who can pay rents close to average market rates. Low-income properties are typically reserved for households who are eligible for local, state or federal subsidy programs.

Apartment Finder helps users search for properties throughout Washington state and is available in multiple languages. It features properties for moderate and low-income renters and includes resources to help users learn about affordable housing options and rental assistance programs.

King County Housing Authority provides a search tool that assesses your family’s financial situation. This database includes properties for moderate and low-income renters and your search will return both rental options and information about rental assistance programs you may quality for, if any.

The City of Seattle’s Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) program features rent-restricted units which are available only to tenants who earn less than a certain percentage of the area’s median income. The eligibility requirements for renters vary by each participating property. Search for participating properties. Several MFTE housing options are located near the Seattle campus and UW Medical Centers, including Bridges@11th, which provides priority to UW employees (see details below).

Affordable housing near UW campuses

Hoping to live near work? UW Community Relations and UWHR work together to share housing options that offer affordable housing opportunities and/or priority access to UW employees.


Bridges@11th is a U-District apartment complex that gives priority access to faculty and staff working at the UW-Seattle and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Designed to meet the housing needs of employees, the complex includes larger floorplans and other family-friendly touches like a rooftop P-patch garden and an on-site dog wash. It’s also a short walk from several grocery stores, entertainment options, and the UW campus.

You’re eligible for priority access if you’re in an active, benefits-eligible position at UW that has a duration of nine months or longer. If no apartments are currently available, you can put your name on the priority waitlist. Thirty seven of the units are offered at reduced rates to employees who earn less that area’s median income. Temporary employees and retirees aren’t eligible, but can apply for apartments if there aren’t other employees on the waitlist.

Radford Court

A good option for visiting scholars, post-docs, faculty, staff, and students with families, Radford Court is just ten minutes from campus. Find floor plans, amenities, and leasing office contact information online.

Mercy Magnuson Place – South

Studio, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes are available near campus at Mercy Magnuson Place – South, which includes 148 energy-efficient, affordable apartments, with 108 of the units reserved for households earning no more than 60% of area of median income ($64,200 for a family of four). Mercy Housing is a national nonprofit organization working to build a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy and all people can develop their full potential.

Resources for housing emergencies

If you or a loved one are experiencing housing insecurity or need emergency housing to stay safe, contact Washington 2-1-1, a 24-7, free, confidential connection to the local services you need. Dial the three-digit number 2-1-1 on your phone or click here to find help with what you need, from utility assistance, food, housing, health, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention and much more.

The Low Income Housing Institute develops, owns and operates housing for the benefit of low-income, homeless and formerly homeless people in Washington state. Their website includes lists of currently available affordable rentals and properties that maintain wait lists for future vacancies.