UW Rental Housing Study Supports What Landlords Have Been Telling City Officials For Years

Posted By: Heather Pierce Advocacy , Government , Business , Market News , Seattle Laws ,

On Tuesday, July 24, a group of UW researchers briefed Seattle City Council’s Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee on a rental housing study commissioned by the City.

RHAWA willingly contributed to the study by helping UW researchers access as many landlord participants as possible and by encouraging our membership to participate in the study. RHAWA is vested in establishing a baseline understanding of what is happening in the Seattle rental market. In many ways, the research findings corroborate what RHAWA has been informing the Council of for years:

  • Landlord perspective is not considered by City officials (89% of survey respondents).
  • Legislation targeting landlords has led to, and is leading to, an increase in owners selling rental properties (40% of respondents), especially for mom-and-pop landlords (47% of respondents own / manage 1 unit). Every time landlords sell, rents are pushed up.
  • Small rental owners charge lower rents and have more flexible screening criteria than large, corporately held rental housing.
  • A large majority of rental housing owners (61%) rely upon their rental property as a long-term retirement asset or secondary source of income. Only 12.7% of respondents rely on rental income as their primary source of income.
  • The large majority of landlords are not wealthy, 59% are cited as earning less than $75,000 per year. Only 8% reported incomes over $150,000 per year.

The University of Washington Rental Housing study is an excellent source of baseline data which demonstrates that recent Seattle housing ordinances are considered ineffective and based on the survey reports, damaging to the preservation of existing affordable housing in the City. Take a look at the study’s findings here: