Deadline Is Here For Registering Rental Properties With 10+ Units

Schack1_bigLast October the City of Seattle passed the Rental Regulation & Inspection Ordinance that aims to establish a standard for cleanliness and healthy living conditions for all rental properties in the city, and the deadline for the first phase – registering properties with 10 or more units in preparation for inspections – is tomorrow, September 30. Inspections are expected to begin early next year, and inspectors will be looking to make sure that all carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors, locks, windows, hot and cold water, and a heat source are working; making sure there are no infestation issues; and that walls, roofs, and ceilings are in good condition.

The ordinance was put in place after a 2009 survey revealed that an estimated 10 percent of the 148,000 rental units in Seattle had “moderate to severe” physical problems. Over the next two years, most rental properties in Seattle will be required to register and subsequently be inspected, with the exception of owner-occupied properties where an individual room is being rented out, and “accessory dwelling units” that are occupied by an immediate family member of an owner. Units that already have inspection reports on file will not need to be re-inspected.

The city is hoping the ordinance will encourage owners to keep rental units up to the same minimum standard and deal with maintenance issues without having to rely on tenant complaints. Units will be inspected at least once every 10 years, and eventually prospective renters will be able view an online database of all registered properties that have passed inspection. Read more about the program here.

If you are interested in renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Kennydale Rental Home: $3,995

Kennydale

This extraordinary neighborhood home, featuring stunning views of Lake Washington is now available for rent! This home has a great open floor plan, rich hardwood floors,and walls of windows, creating a bright atmosphere throughout. This home features granite counter tops stainless steel appliances, two master bedrooms, a beautiful backyard and is truly an entertainer’s dream. Home is close to parks, beaches, boat launches, shopping, restaurants and I-405. For more information on this or other Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

Status: For Rent
Beds/Baths: 4//3
Price: $3,995/Month

Proposed Bill Would Make Micro-Housing More Expensive To Build

Thousands of tiny apartments, often called “apodments”, have been built in Seattle over the past several years, and they haven’t been a huge hit with many neighbors who live near them. More akin to dorm rooms than to traditional apartments, many of the units are only 150 square feet – about the size of a parking space – and occupy tall, narrow buildings that are often out of scale with the neighborhood and usually don’t provide any parking for residents, even in densely populated areas of the city such as Capitol Hill.

Micro Apartment sketch from Biz Journal

Micro Apartment sketch from Biz Journal

But the Puget Sound Business Journal is reporting that a new bill proposed by a Seattle City Council committee would put in place new regulations that could dramatically curtail this type of building. Under the new legislation, micro-housing would be subject to the Design Review Board, which can cost developers an extra $200,000 (currently they do not have to go through the design review process); units would have to be a minimum of 220 square feet; and builders would have to provide some parking spaces and possibly bicycle parking areas. The council vote on the new legislation is scheduled for October 6.

If you are interested in rentals in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle One Of Top 10 Most Expensive Cities For Renters

housing-marketIf you’re a renter in Seattle you don’t need telling that it costs a pretty penny to live here, but we now have census data that confirms our rents are up there with the most expensive in the country. The Seattle Times is reporting that Seattle finally cracked the top ten on the list of cities boasting the highest median rent, with a cost of $1,172 per month.

Between 2010 and 2013 rents here also saw the steepest increase of the top 50 most populous cities in the U.S., having risen by $113 per month (including utilities), or 11 percent. $1,172 is the median cost of what renters are currently paying in Seattle, so it does not reflect many newer apartment buildings that are listing un-rented units for much higher prices. Surprisingly, the number of renters in Seattle has kept pace with rising rents – in 2013 there were 307,000 renters here, a 13 percent increase from 2010.

Click here to see a chart of the top 10 most expensive cities for renters. If you would like more information on renting in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Walkability Score- What is it and why does it matter?

Pioneer Square Pergola

Pioneer Square Pergola

Walkability- it’s a word that some of you may be familiar with already, and one that real estate marketing often uses. But what exactly does it mean?

Used by Walkscore.com, it’s intended definition is to indicate how easily and readily connected a property is to the neighborhood and community around it. For instance, is the nearest grocery store within easy walking distance? Or would it be necessary to drive there?

The higher a property’s Walk Score (or Transit Score or Bike Score) on a scale of 1-100, the more connected the neighborhood is with the property. Take this chart example. But what makes a community walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
  • People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
  • Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
  • Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
  • Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.

Now, why is this score important? It’s generally known that those who walk more, whether it’s just a few steps or hundreds of steps a day are generally healthier than those who don’t. By walking more, not only do you get outside, but you also use your car less, and thereby reduce your carbon footprint. If you were able to find a property in a highly walkable area, you might be able to forgo the car altogether!

And here’s some great news: Seattle is rated as one of the most walkable cities in the U.S.! With a Walk Score of 71, a Transit Score of 57, and a Bike Score of 64, Seattle is the 8th most walkable city, with it’s most walkable neighborhoods being Downtown, the Denny Triangle, and Pioneer Square.

How important is the walkability of the neighborhood to you when looking for a new property?