The Seattle City Council believes government’s nanny hands should be on everything. Councilmembers have proved that time and time again.
And, now, they are doing it again. And once again their regulatory overreach includes a tax-raising component so they have more money to spend on their pet projects.
The city council’s latest target is services such as Airbnb or VBRO — companies that allow property owners to rent rooms, apartments, homes and even RVs for short-term/vacation opportunities. Under new proposed regulations, these services (as well as owners’ choice over what to do with their property) would be severely limited. Via MyNorthwest.com:
“Under the regulations, properties that aren’t occupied by permanent residents would be prohibited from having more than 90 nights of short-term rentals per year. Councilmember Tim Burgess insists the rules are needed to maintain affordable housing in the city by freeing up housing inventory. In other words, Seattle needs more housing and the travel rentals remove units from the long-term housing supply.
“The city believes that 80 percent of Airbnb providers would not violate the 90-day rule and therefore would not be affected by any regulation. Those who rent for longer than 90 days would be required to get a business license and pay applicable taxes, as well as share quarterly rental data with the city.”
Property owners who rely on services like Airbnb or VBRO for added income have a few good reasons for why such regulations are ridiculous. But, perhaps the most convincing argument is the simple fact that rentals on Airbnb or VBRO are “not the same types of units the city needs to increase housing” — and certainly not affordable housing.
One property owner stated, “I think there is some confusion over the quality of the market introduced from Airbnb… That inventory has never been a candidate for affordable housing in the first place.”
Of course, what some of these property owners don’t quite understand is that the Seattle City Council doesn’t really care about whether or not their units are candidates for affordable housing – that’s just an excuse for their regulations. And, as we all know, Seattle councilmembers love to regulate.