THINK POSITIVE!

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Seattle’s Disappearing Rental Properties

Seattle tracks the number of rental properties in the city through their Rental Registration and Inspection program?  According to the latest data from Seattle’s Rental Property Registration database, Seattle has had a net loss of 3,050 properties and 9,759 units since May 2021. During that time, just 27 rental units were added to the market.

Of the properties lost, 2,401 were single family homes which are typically owned by small, individual housing providers. Over the last five years, Seattle has enacted 39 new ordinances that, the Rental Housing Association concludes, taken together, significantly increase the risk to small housing providers while increasing their costs. The result is an ongoing departure of rental housing as people sell and leave the market. These homes typically become owner occupied, rather than continuing as rentals.

May 2021                   January 2022
Size ClassPropertiesUnitsPropertiesUnits
Single Unit21,36321,36318,96218,962
2 to 4 Units4,59812,0074,15510,886
5 to 20 Units2,80227,2492,68525,757
21 to 50 Units83626,29877424,302
51 to 99 Units29620,88628219,999
  100 to 200 Units17424,42316222,534
200+ Units9326,6589226,685
  TOTAL30,162158,88427,112149,125

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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LAWS, LAWS AND MORE LAWS

Multiple (Lots & Lots) of changes to the Landlord Tenant Act were recently passed by the legislature.

2019-2020 Legislative Session

HB 1440 requires a 60-day notice for rent increases.  Local laws may increase the time required. 

HB 1462 requires a 120-day notice to terminate any tenancy due to demolition, substantial renovation requiring a permit or change of use of any rental property.

HB 1138 allows any tenant who is a member of the armed forces, including the national guard and armed forces reserves, or that tenant’s spouse or dependent, to terminate a rental agreement with less than twenty days’ written notice if the tenant receives permanent change of station or deployment orders that do not allow a twenty-day written notice.

HB 1694 requires landlords to permit tenants to make payments on deposit and other move-in costs.

HB 2535 mandates a five-day grace period for rent payments.  If rent is not paid by the 6th, late fees can be charged back to the first day rent was delinquent.

SB 5600 increases the notice to pay rent or vacate from 3 days to 14.  Defines rent as all recurring charges, including utilities, parking, and storage fees.

2021 Legislative Session

HB 1236 requires, with very few exceptions, landlords to give a reason for a notice to vacate.  The law provides for 16 reasons.  The amount of notice varies depending on the reason for the notice.

SB 5160 provides tenant protections during and after public health emergencies, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, establishing an eviction resolution pilot program for nonpayment of rent cases, and authorizing landlord access to state rental assistance programs.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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JUST CAUSE OR NO CAUSE?

Washington State is now a “Just Cause” Eviction state?  Prior to the passage of the Mandatory Lease Renewal bill last year, Washington was a “No Cause” Eviction state.  This meant that a landlord could require a tenant to vacate at the end of a lease term without stating a reason or cause.  For tenants on a month-to-month rental agreement, a 20-day notice was all that was required to terminate the tenancy.

Now, with very limited exceptions, all tenancies can only be terminated for cause.  The law specifies the allowed reasons or causes and specifies the amount of time required for each.  The amount of notice time varies from three days to 120 days.

This means that even if the lease term is coming to an end, tenancy doesn’t automatically end.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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Retaliatory or Discriminatory??

Terminations of tenancy and rent increases that are retaliatory or discriminatory are illegal!

A court may find that the landlord illegally retaliated against the tenant if a landlord takes certain actions within ninety days after a tenant asserts their rights or within ninety days after a government inspection or proceeding resulting from a tenant complaint.

There is a presumption of retaliation if a landlord raises rent, initiates an eviction, reduces services or increases tenant obligations within ninety days after a tenant exercises their legal rights.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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SEATTLE WASHINGTON RENTAL LAW

The Seattle City Council voted down another extension of the city’s eviction moratorium?  The current moratorium is scheduled to expire on February 28th. Mayor Harrell stated that he won’t extend the moratorium an eighth time.

In 2020 the city council passed a measure that provides tenants with a defense against rent-related evictions for six months after the moratorium ends.  Under ordinance 126075, tenants can claim a defense against eviction for non-payment of rent if they can demonstrate financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Once the moratorium is lifted, landlords will be able to end tenancy if they want to move into the rental property or if they want to sell a single-family residence.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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RENTAL MARKET REBOUND?

According a survey by the Rental Housing Association and CoStar, the rental market rebounded in 2021. The rental market made a comeback in 2021 after a slowdown in 2020 due to the coronavirus exodus of office workers. In 2021, annual rents increased an amazing 10.4% in metro Seattle, year-over-year, after rents fell for the first time since 2009 in 2020.  The rental market was stronger outside of the city core in 2020 but urban rents are increasing again as many renters move back to the city center. As many workers continue to work from home, two+ bedroom rentals have grown faster than studios and one-bedrooms. 23,000 new apartments are underway in the greater metro area, with the concentration in the urban core.  This will increase inventory by 6.3% and could affect rental pricing again. 

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing. And if you’re not confused about Washington State residential rental laws, then you must have the ability to walk on water!!

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TOP PROPERTY MANAGERS – 2021

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WHAT’S IN A NAME???

Washington’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance allows a landlord to give notice to vacate to a tenant if the owner wants to sell a single-family home?  The law has this definition of a single-family home.

A “single-family residence” is a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it shall be deemed a single-family residence if it has direct access to a street and shares neither heating facilities nor hot water equipment, nor any other essential facility or service, with any other dwelling unit.

A definition of “essential facility or service” is not yet defined by law.

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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MORE REGULATION?

That there are four bills regarding rentals currently under consideration by the legislature? 

House Bill 1300 adds requirements for tenant deposit accounting, some of which could make it harder for landlords to deduct charges from a tenant’s deposit.

The full bill and link to submit a comment can be found here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1300

Senate Bill 5576 would modify the eviction processes and programs.  Tenants who have received three or more pay or vacate notices in the period of 12 months currently are ineligible for certain benefits assistance programs; the proposed legislation would remove that ineligibility.

The full bill and link to submit a comment can be found here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/5576

House Bill 1593 would expand the landlord mitigation program to include victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking.

The full bill and link to submit a comment can be found here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1593

House Bill 2017 would prohibit landlords from advertising or operating a rental as “crime free.”  It would also prohibit landlords from requesting criminal history from a potential tenant or denying tenancy based on criminal history.  The maximum penalty for violations would be $7,500 per person.

The full bill and link to submit a comment can be found here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/2017

We are here to help you and your clients with all aspects of the rental market. Please contact us for further assistance!

Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should not rely solely on this information. We encourage our clients to work with a lawyer experienced in commercial and/or residential real estate matters as they can be complicated and confusing.

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