University of Washington (UW) Study Links Seattle Landlord Regulations to Decreased Availability

Posted By: Heather Pierce (deleted) Advocacy, Market News, Seattle Laws,

Heather Pierce
(206) 905-0611 |

Seattle, WA – July 24, 2018 – A group of researchers from the UW’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology are presenting their study findings on the Seattle Rental Housing market, at today’s Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee.

Over 4,000 rental owners responded to the UW survey, most of whom reported owning only one rental property (RHAWA’s typical member), yet our warnings to the Seattle City Council that an increased regulatory burden would drive mom-and-pop landlords out of the market went unheeded.

Predictably, a significant number of mom-and-pop landlords have sold their property due to increased regulations, 40.29% of those surveyed reported that they have sold or plan to sell. About 1/3 of respondents reported that ordinances like First-in-Time and the prohibition of using criminal records factored into their decision to sell. In fact, 80% reported that First-In-Time placed unreasonable burdens on rental property owners, including exposing landlords to unsound financial risks.

Considering how the majority of respondents own only one unit and less than 15% raised rent in the past year compared to 83% of rental owners managing 15 - 19 units, it is fair to note that Seattle’s new ordinances have reduced the availability of affordable housing in Seattle. If lawmakers seek to increase affordable housing, villainizing mom-and-pop landlords is not the answer.

78% of rental owners reported that their perspective has been ignored by city officials, demonstrating a real need to engage rental owners as a part of the solution to affordable housing. “Alienating, demonizing, and ignoring mom-and-pop landlords only exacerbates Seattle’s housing shortage,” says RHAWA’s Board President, William Shadbolt. “RHA has always offered itself as a good faith partner with the City, to leverage its industry experience and help design practical solutions to Seattle’s rental housing affordability crisis.”

About Rental Housing Association of Washington
With more than 5,300 members, RHAWA is the State’s oldest and largest association of rental property owners, managers and investors working together to advance the general welfare of the rental housing industry. RHAWA is a not-for-profit organization, and provides its members with a full range of products and services including tenant screening, leasing forms, and education.

For more information:
Heather Pierce, (206) 905-0611 |