Renting in Seattle: Landlord Update

More than half of Seattle residents live in rental housing. Landlords and property managers are vital partners in keeping Seattle a great place to live.

New! Five Tenant Bills Recently Enacted by City Council


City Council recently passed five separate tenant protection bills that you should know about. Below is a summary of the bills.

Three bills are effective on November 3, 2019 

Rent Payment Regulation (SMC 7.24.030.E Amended)
The intent of the bill is to accommodate renters who have difficulty using an electronic payment method for their rent by requiring alternative payment options.  This does not require landlords to accept cash payments.

  • Requires landlords to give receipts if tenants pay rent in cash and when requested for other payment types
  • Landlords must give tenants a nonelectronic option to pay rent which includes periodic charges such as third-party billing for utilities.

Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) Registration Required Before Serving Eviction Notices (SMC Sections 22.206.160.C and 22.214.075 Amended)
The intent of this bill is to require a rental unit to be registered prior to the service of any eviction notice (14 Day Pay or Vacate, 10 Day Comply or Vacate, 3 Day Notice to Quit).  Previously, the requirement was triggered at the point an eviction lawsuit is filed in Superior Court.

  • Landlords required to register with RRIO before serving any eviction notice
  • Notices issued by landlords who are not registered will not comply with the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance

Information about Tenant Rights Statement Required on Notices (SMC 22.206.180.K Amended)
The intent of this bill is to ensure that renters always know how to get help when they receive a notice from their landlord.  It provides standardized language to include on notices.  Failure to include the language may make the notice invalid.

  • Notices that impact tenants’ rights must contain a reference to City information and resources, including:
    • Notices to Terminate, Quit, Comply and/or Vacate
    • Notice to Increase Housing Costs (Rent)
    • Notices to Enter the rental unit
  • SDCI is currently drafting a ‘Director’s Rule’ providing the exact language requirement and will notify landlords when complete.  Until, the rule is published, the following language is sufficient:

If you need help understanding this notice or information about your renter rights, call the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684- 5700 or visit the web site at www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.

Two bills have later effective dates.  Mayor Durkan has instructed SDCI to consult with stakeholders including the landlord community before they are implemented.

Domestic Violence Damage Relief Bill (SMC 7.24 Amended)
The intent of the bill is to protect tenants experiencing domestic violence from having to pay for damages caused by their perpetrator.

  • Tenants experiencing DV cannot be held liable for damages to their rental unit caused by their abuser
  • A landlord mitigation fund was created to reimburse landlords who repair damage in rental units that was caused by DV preparators
  • Effective Dates:
    • Ordinance effective January 1, 2020
    • Landlord Mitigation Fund effective July 1, 2020

Restriction on Landlord’s Ability to Limit Roommates (SMC Sections 7.24.030.H, 7.24.031, and 7.24.032 Amended)
The intent of the bill is to increase housing affordability for renters who need to share housing with family and roommates.

  • Requires landlords to allow a tenant’s immediate family, one additional unrelated roommate, and the unrelated roommate’s family members to reside together, up to the legal occupancy limit
  •  Tenants must notify the landlord when the occupants change
  • Landlords may screen occupants and require them to join the rental agreement
  • Exemptions for tenants receiving federal housing subsidies and in homes where the landlord also lives on the property
  • Effective date: July 1, 2020

Updates will be made soon to the www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle to reflect these new bills.  If you have questions or need assistance, please do contact the helpline at (206) 684-5700.

Landlord Training: Save the Date

Our next landlord workshop is:
Thursday, December 5
1:00 –  4:00 p.m.
The Mountaineers
7700 Sandpoint Way NE

We will send out a registration link to Eventbrite closer to the date for you to enroll in the workshop which will cover fair housing laws as well as rental regulations including the newest legislation.


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The Gardner Report | Q2 2019

 

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State employment jumped back up to an annual growth rate of 2.4% following a disappointing slowdown earlier in the spring. As stated in the first quarter Gardner Report, the dismal numbers earlier this year were a function of the state re-benchmarking its data (which they do annually).

The state unemployment rate was 4.7%, marginally up from 4.5% a year ago. My current economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.6%, with a total of 87,500 new jobs created.

 

HOME SALES

  • There were 22,281 home sales during the second quarter of 2019, representing a drop of 4.8% from the same period in 2018. On a more positive note, sales jumped 67.6% compared to the first quarterof this year.
  • Since the middle of last year, there has been a rapid rise in the number of homes for sale, which is likely the reason sales have slowed. More choice means buyers can be more selective and take their time when choosing a home to buy.
  • Compared to the second quarter of 2018, there were fewer sales in all counties except Whatcom and Lewis. The greatest declines were in Clallam, San Juan, and Jefferson counties.
  • Listings rose 19% compared to the second quarter of 2018, but there are still a number of very tight markets where inventory levels are lower than a year ago. Generally, these are the smaller — and more affordable — markets, which suggests that affordability remains an issue.

 

 

HOME PRICE

 

  • Year-over-year price growth in Western Washington continues to taper. The average home price during second quarter was $540,781, which is 2.8% higher than a year ago. When compared to first quarter of this year, prices were up 12%.
  • Home prices were higher in every county except King, which is unsurprising given the cost of homes in that area. Even though King County is home to the majority of jobs in the region, housing is out of reach for many and I anticipate that this will continue to act as a drag on price growth.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.9%. Double-digit price increases were also seen in Mason, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, and Skagit counties.
  • The region’s economy remains robust, which should be a positive influence on price growth. That said, affordability issues are pervasive and will act as a headwind through the balance of the year, especially in those markets that are close to job centers. This will likely force some buyers to look further afield when searching for a new home.

 

 

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home matched the second quarter of 2018.
  • Snohomish County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 21 days to sell. There were five counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in eight counties and two were unchanged.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 41 days to sell a home in the second quarter of 2019. This was the same as a year ago but is down 20 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
  • As stated above, days-on-market dropped as we moved through the spring, but all markets are not equal. I suggest that this is not too much of an issue and that well-priced homes will continue to attract attention and sell fairly rapidly.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first quarter as demand appears to still be strong.

The market has benefitted from a fairly significant drop in mortgage rates. With average 30-year fixed rates still below 4%, I expect buyers who have been sitting on the fence will become more active, especially given that they have more homes to choose from.

 

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.


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Greater Seattle Area Beaches & Boat Launches

 

 

 

 


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