Move in Costs

The City of Seattle limits the kind of charges and total cost a landlord can require a renter to pay at the time of move-in. Fees are non-refundable, while deposits are fully refundable.

  • Non-refundable fees can only be charged for cleaning and screening and cannot exceed 10 percent of one month's rent. If the actual screening cost equals more than 10 percent, a landlord can charge the extra amount as long as the charge is consistent with the standard cost of screening in Seattle. A landlord cannot charge you for cleaning at the end of your rental agreement if they charge for cleaning at the start.
  • Security deposit and fees combined cannot exceed one month's rent.
    Example: Rent = $1,000. Fees (cleaning and screening only) = $100. Security Deposit = $900
  • A pet deposit of 25 percent of one month's rent can be charged in addition to the security deposit and fees.
    Example: Rent = $1,000. Fees = $100 + Security Deposit $900 + $250 (pet deposit)
  • If you paid a holding deposit, (see holding deposits) it must be applied to your first month's rent or security deposit.

Renting in Seattle

Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98124
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-5700
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The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) includes permitting, construction inspections, code compliance and tenant protections, and rental housing registration and inspections.