Revised Short-Term Rental Legislation Advanced

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Councilmember Tim Burgess (Position 8, Citywide) announced revised short-term rental legislation today, which would address regulations for a growing industry that includes companies like Airbnb and VRBO.  Following Council consideration of an earlier draft in 2016, Councilmember Burgess worked with neighborhoods, renters, hosts, and affected companies to develop updated legislation to meet the underlying issues of affordability in Seattle and the ability of people to rent out their own property.

Under the revised proposal, anyone may provide their primary residence and one additional unit as a short-term rental, without limitation of nights per year. The proposal requires that all short-term rental operators obtain a City regulatory license. This license will require proof that the unit being rented is the operator’s primary residence or one additional unit, proof of liability insurance that covers the short-term rental use, a local contact number for guests, a signed declaration that the unit meets building and life safety codes, and basic safety information posted for guests in the unit.

Councilmember Burgess said, “Under my revised proposal, a family can still rent out their home when they go on a weekend vacation, or a homeowner can rent out their second property to help pay the mortgage.  All this while preventing a mass turnover of existing rental housing stock into short-term rentals.  I think we’ve struck the right balance, and I look forward to more review in the weeks ahead as the Council considers this ordinance.”

The revised proposal also requires that all rental platforms have a short-term rental platform’s license from the City, and establishes a process for the enforcement of licensing requirements.

The City Council is currently scheduled to consider the updated proposal at a meeting of the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee in early June.

Today, the City of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) published a Determination of Non-Significance (DNS) under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) for the proposed legislation regulating short-term rentals in the City of Seattle. Comments regarding this DNS or potential environmental impacts may be submitted through May 8, 2017. Comments may be sent to:

City of Seattle, SDCI
Attn: Christian Ghan
P.O. Box 94788
Seattle, WA 98124