Seattle leaders want to cap short-term rentals to increase long-term housing
SEATTLE - A key Seattle City Council committee made changes on Tuesday to the limits of short-term rentals like Airbnb or VRBO and how hosts can operate.
City lawmakers want to put caps on the number of short-term rental units in the city as an attempt to increase the long-term rental supply.
As originally proposed, an operator with a business license could operate two dwelling units as short-term rentals. But, the Land Use Committee of the city council agreed on a compromise.
Operators within the Downtown, Uptown or South Lake Union Urban Centers and units in certain building types in the First Hill and Capitol Hill Urban Center would be exempt for the two unit limit.
Operators outside of those zones would be limited to the two unit rule. All other operators who started or want to start short-term rentals would be limited to their primary residence and one additional unit as a short-term rental.
In November, the City Council passed a short-term rental tax of $14/per night for homes and condos, and an $8/per night tax on rooms starting January 1, 2019. The money will go to community-based housing projects.
But, council members showed interest in adding an additional $2/per fee onto platforms like Airbnb and VBRO that host the rentals for clients. The fee would cover the administrative costs of implementing the licensing program and collecting of the tax.
That amendment was voted down in the committee on Tuesday, but is expected to be reintroduced when the full council votes on the entire short-term ordinance on Monday.