Skip to content Sitemap

Amendments to Seattle’s Proposed Short Term Rental Legislation


The Seattle City Council’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee met again on July 20th to discuss Short-Term Rental Regulations. I think there were two key takeaways from the meeting:


The committee has proposed some exceptions to the original legislation! The first committee discussion revealed a couple of concerns:

  • “The City may not be able to rely on rental platforms to cooperate with the proposed structure.
  • Individuals have expressed concerns about the treatment of existing short term rentals in secondary residences, given current law is not explicitly prohibitive.”

The committee has offered the following limited exceptions to the proposed legislation:

  • “Within a defined window, individual households may register and license one dwelling unit apart from primary residence if:
    • They had a business license prior to June 1, 2016 for that unit
    • They have proof that they have paid applicable taxes for that unit
  • Year-round short-term rental uses will be allowed to continue operation at these properties for a period of 10 years or when the property changes ownership, whichever is shorter”

For more detailed information on the Modified Policy Approach, click here:



The opposition to the Short-Term Rental Regulation in Seattle is more than a mash up of different people concerned with the potential law changes. The opposition is organized. The opposition is vocal. And the opposition is awash in neon green!

The Seattle Short-Term Rental Alliance (SSTRA) was a noticeable presence at the committee meeting in their neon green shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Save Seattle Short-Term Rentals.” Many members spoke in support of short-term rentals in the public comment period, which unlike in the last committee meeting, was held to a hard thirty-minute period. Those who spoke expressed concern about the economic hardships, the loss of employment, and the destruction of small businesses if the proposed legislation was made law.

The SSTRA codified their response to the Council’s proposed legislation in handouts they were passing out at the exit:

“Short-term rentals in Seattle positively impact the local economy by creating jobs and supporting small businesses. There is neither evidence-based research nor academic studies demonstrating that shot-term rentals negatively impact affordable housing in Seattle. Proposed regulations phasing out short-term rentals in secondary residences will result in unexpected consequences – negatively impacting the local economy, eliminating jobs, putting small business owners out of business, and harming the ability of private citizens to earn a living from income property.”

The SSTRA also made some recommendations to the Council, which can be found on their website here:

Posted by: Melissa Melia on August 5, 2016
Posted in: Law, News, Seattle