Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rooming House Trouble

The Sunday Seattle Times reported on pending legislation by the City of Bellevue to limit the number of unrelated people who can live in one house. The article in the Times reported that “Neighbors had complained about traffic, noise and landlords not paying for garbage collection or keeping up the yard.”

Martin Duke in the Seattle Transit Blog complains:
"I have little doubt that traffic, noise, and untidy grounds are sometimes a problem with boardinghouses. Indeed, homes occupied by a single family can also make noise and not keep up the yard. But Bellevue has hit upon a way to limit this that also happens to specifically exclude poor people from the neighborhood, which should concern anyone interested in social justice."

I offer short-term furnished rentals where I live in Leschi, and they have filled an important niche in the marketplace for affordable housing. Seattle has worked hard to provide subsidized and affordable housing as a way for lower-income citizen to live close to their jobs.

The Eastside provides another major job center, and market-rate home prices are actually higher in Bellevue than in Seattle. Furthermore, Bellevue is commonly understood to have among the best public schools in the state, meaning that this new Bellevue city policy also limits access to quality education for small families of meager means.

The new Bellevue rules limit to four the number of unrelated people who can live in one house. I currently have five unrelated people living with me in Leschi, and another seven in my income property in Ballard. They are good tenants, and I have had no complaints from the neighbors.

The new rules also require the adults to be sharing the entire house under one lease. I have separate leases for each of my tenants in Seattle.

Short term furnished room rentals appeal to contractors and international visitors to our area doing contract or temporary assignments, people experiencing relationship break-ups, and people who are remodeling their homes. They also offer a less-expensive alternative for people who want to be close to their jobs.

Eliminating or restricting this type of housing is, in my opinion, short-sighted.

Nevertheless, those folks displaced by this ordinance are welcome to come join us over here in Seattle.

Happy Investing!

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