West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has “in-district office hours” today – 3:30-7 pm at the SP Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.), “walk-in friendly” as described in her newest online update, just published/e-mailed. Also in that update is her report on this week’s council vote on capping move-in fees for renters. Since we hadn’t made note of the vote previously, we’re republishing what she wrote today:
On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass the Renters’ move-in fee cap legislation. This legislation will require property owners who rent to work with tenants needing an installment plan to help renters better afford the high upfront costs required to rent. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve announced that 46% of adults could not cover an emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money. Seattle’s high housing costs make it increasingly difficult to live in Seattle. Even middle-income households, especially families with children, struggle to meet the high prices of housing in most areas of the city.
I also understand property owners need to collect move-in fees to mitigate the risks arising from tenant damage to units and moving out without proper advanced notice. Some suggested an exemption from this legislation for property-owners who rent 4 or fewer units. In lieu of exempting small landlords, the Council did the following: (1) Exempted move-in fees that total 25% or less than one month’s full rent; (2) Exempted owner-occupied units; (3) Adopted language that allows the tenant and property owner to negotiate a different payment plan then the one required by legislation; and (4) Requires that reservation fees, also known as holding fees, be subtracted from the total move-in costs, thus reducing the total subject to an installment plan.
This legislation will be evaluated over the next 18 months and I have asked that the evaluation of this legislation include an analysis of how small and large landlords are impacted by the legislation.
The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is charged with implementing the move-in fee legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Geoff Tallent by email at Geoff.Tallent@seattle.gov or by phone at 206-684-8452.
Councilmember Herbold’s full online update tackles a few other topics, too – read it in its entirety here.