Proposed Bill: 90 Days Notice For Some Rent Increases

housing-marketMost renters have probably experienced it – opening your mailbox to find a notice that your rent is going up. Often, increases come in $50 or $100 increments, but in Seattle’s booming rental market, some are seeing their rents rise by $1,000 or more at a time. Most renters can’t absorb these exorbitant hikes, and Washington State’s Landlord Tenant Law only requires landlords to give 30 days notice for rent changes (60 days in the City of Seattle), giving tenants a short window to find a new home. But according to Crosscut, Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) is planning to introduce legislation that would require landlords across the board to give 90 days notice if they raise rents by more than 10 percent. The notification period for increases of 10 percent or less would remain at 30 days. For renters who don’t have much cushion in their savings account, this would give them more time to save up enough cash for move-in fees such as first and last months’ rent and a security deposit. According to King-5, the Rental Housing Association of Washington will fight the bill.

Kohl-Welles will also introduce legislation to prohibit landlords from discriminating against potential tenants on the basis of their participation in a government assistance program such as Section 8, which provides rent vouchers for households making 30 percent or less of the area’s median income. The bill would be aimed at landlords who either prohibit those in such a program from applying for housing altogether, or who don’t give them equal consideration with those not enrolled in an assistance program.

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

 

Zillow’s List of Easy Mistakes to Avoid When Renting Your Property

Renting out your property can be a smart investment to make some money, but it’s not always easy; there are several mistakes that many owners make that can actually wind up costing more out of pocket money in the long run. There is no 100% guarantee to weeding out bad renters, but taking the extra steps during the screening process can avoid potential trouble down the road. Zillow has compiled a list of 5 common mistakes to avoid when renting out your property:

1)Proper Documentation– make sure that you’ve put together a signed lease agreement, and make sure that the agreement comes with all of the bells and whistles to cover your house.

2) Discriminating Prospective Tenants – Protect yourself from an legal trouble by familiarizing yourself with fair housing laws, and make sure that your listing isn’t excluding any specific group.

3) Neglecting Proper Insurance – Renting out your space puts you in a vulnerable position for accidents, and leaning back on only homeowners insurance might not be enough to cover you if something were to occur. Protect yourself by looking into Landlord insurance.

4) Failing to Disclose Important Information – If you are aware of mold, asbestos, etc. on your property, be knowledgeable of  information you are required to disclose.

5) Being Too Lenient on Screening – Choosing a reliable responsible tenant is highly important, requiring a credit check isn’t a bad idea to rule out any tenants who might cause a problem down the road.

Seattle Rental Scene Heats Up

Seattle ApartmentAccording to Bloomberg.com, U.S. apartment and rental vacancies have decreased over the last few months, which have allowed landlords and apartment buildings to increase rental rates.  There have been a large amount of families relocating to Seattle with companies such as Amazon, Fred Hutchinson, local hospitals, and other companies going through hiring frenzies.  Many of these families are in no rush to purchase since they aren’t sure which Seattle neighborhoods they would prefer to live in and most have the luxury of temporary housing.  Larger companies tend to offer temporary housing which allows tenants the time to learn more about which neighborhoods they would prefer to live in and at the same time leads to a decrease in Seattle apartment vacancies.  Owners of single family rental homes throughout the Puget Sound area have benefited from those tenants looking for the perfect home for their family and preferring a house over an apartment.  These owners benefit due to a lack of inventory and a large amount of families searching, which consequently has allowed landlords to obtain higher rental rates. To read more about a decrease in vacancies and an increase in the Seattle rental rates, please read the article here.