The City of Seattle proposed new regulations on short-term rentals, specifically impacting Airbnb rentals, during a recent meeting. Landlords packed the City Council’s chambers to voice concerns over the proposal, which would drastically limit some short-term rentals in Seattle. Under the proposal, rental units that aren’t within the landlord’s primary residence can be rented out for only 90 days cumulative per year to short-term renters. If it is within the primary residence, the operator has no limit. The owner needs to obtain a new “short-term rental operator” license from the City of Seattle.
The idea is to cut down on the number of long-term rentals that are being converted to Airbnbs to give landlords a larger payout over the year. Homeowners who rent out a backroom of their house will not be drastically affected. The City of Seattle estimates about 80 percent of short-term rental operators will see no new regulations. The City Council hopes these regulations will keep commercial renters from converting long-term rentals, which could benefit Seattle’s current “housing crisis,” as several city politicians have called it. Airbnb estimates their Seattle community generated $180 million of economic impact in 2015. A total of 87 percent of hosts share their home with the tenants, and they average 80 nights rented per year.
A rough timeline from the city says it will hold two months of public discussion on these regulations before a council vote in August or September.