Update On King County’s Rental Market

rentKing County rental activity was hot in the month of May with 269 leased properties, according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The market picks up in the spring and summer, so we can expect the number of rented properties (and rental rates!) to increase in June and into July. This number was up from the same time last year with 244 leased properties in King County. Currently, there are 218 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, 68 of which are within 7 miles of the downtown Seattle core. The current highest asking price is $17,000/mo for a 5-bedroom/6-bathroom single family home in Washington Park. For more information about Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today!

Rental Caps Set For Micro-Housing Units

rentOn February 23, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to set a cap on rental rates for Small Efficiency Dwelling Units (SEDUs), also known as apodments or micro housing, in an effort to further ensure that affordable units are being included in residential developments. Under provisions of the new bill, in order to receive the 12-year property tax exemptions that come as part of the City of Seattle’s Multifamily Property Tax Exemption Program (MFTE), developers would be required to reserve 25 percent (up from 20 percent under current regulations) of their units for those making no more than 40 percent of the area’s median income. That would set rates at $618 per month for single-person households making $24,720 per year, which is about $400 per month less than current regulations for “affordable” units.

Roger Valdez of Smart Growth Seattle told The Seattle Times that the program’s incentives won’t make up for money developers will lose on the lowered rents, and he predicts many developers will not participate in the program, resulting in zero units of affordable housing. Similarly, according to the Urbanist, Councilmember Kshama Sawant during the legislative session questioned how much affordable housing is actually being created, and whether the program is simply a loophole for developers to avoid property taxes. The bill will act as a sort of “trial run”, as the entire MFTE program could be facing widespread reorganization in the coming year.

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

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.

 

Renters In Older Buildings Blindsided By Rent Hikes

rentWith all the talk about record-high rents in the Seattle area, you may look around at the high-rise apartments sprouting up in South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, and Ballard and think you’ve found the culprits for our status as the U.S.’s 8th most expensive city for renters. But here’s a surprising statistic reported recently by Sanjay Bhatt at The Seattle Times: rents in older buildings are actually rising at faster rates than those in newer ones. Rents in buildings built in the 1980’s grew by a rate of 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, whereas rents in buildings newer than 2010 grew by only 1.4 percent (granted, rents in these buildings are much higher to start with).

Renters who care little about granite counter tops and rooftop decks have historically been able to rent units for reasonable rates in older buildings that offer function without the flash. But as many of these mid-century buildings approach 60 or 70 years old, they’re being sold off to development groups who pass on renovation costs to tenants in the form of rent hikes. For residents such as those at the Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle (a building built in 1964), those hikes came in the form of a 130 percent increase, according to The Seattle Times. One resident saw her rent rise from $1,000 per month to $2,300 per month.

With the addition of 86,000 new residents over the past four years and just under 29,000 new units built over the same time period, housing is at a premium and a low vacancy rate in King County is creating stiff competition for renters. Because of that, landlords are having no trouble filling units, even with ever-rising rents.

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

 

 

July Seattle Rentals Real Estate Recap

King County rental activity was up the last three months with 334 leased properties in July compared to 324 in June and 243 in May according to stats from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  No surprise, as the summer months are often the busiest  in the rental business.

Highlands Rental Home

Highlands Rental Home

For the most part these numbers are down from the same time last year with 384 leased properties last July, 348 last June, but a whopping 329 last May in King County.  Currently, there are 385 available King County rentals on the NWMLS, with 82 in neighborhoods within 7 miles of the downtown core.  The current highest asking price is $15,000/mo for a 5 bdrm./6 bath single family home in Denny Blaine. If you’re interested in Seattle Rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

Things You Can Do To Secure Your Rental Deposit Back

When tenants move out of their rentals, there are many things that landlords and tenants tend to disagree on in terms of acceptable  wear on the living space. Some landlords won’t charge tenants for minor scratches on the wall and floors, but if you want to receive most of your damage deposit back, here is a nice checklist of things you can do to ensure the deposit lands in your bank account. Be sure to do a walk through with your landlord upon moving in and out of your rental, and take photos of any damage to the walls, windows, appliances etc to make sure you are not held liable for those damages when you move out. windermere

If you live with a pet or have some noticeable stains to the carpets, be sure to give your carpets a good cleaning prior to the move out inspection, as this is something many tenants are charged for. You also want to make sure you have it in writing for who is responsible for cleaning the carpets when you move out. When you’re doing the move out walk through with your landlord, be sure to take note of any damages they intend to hold you accountable for, and review your move in notes and photos to be certain they weren’t there before you moved in. Any discrepancies should be brought to their attention prior to your move out. If you are interested in finding a new rental home, contact your local real estate agent today.

King County Rental Market Recap March 2014

The King County rental market saw an increase in leased properties in March,  with 641 rentals, versus 611 leased properties in the same month last year, according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). While the NWMLS is a good gauge, it is only a portion of the real estate market.  Nonetheless, it shows rentals continue to be in high demand, especially in Metro areas.   Developers are following suit with big apartment buildings popping up in Ballard, Downtown, and South Lake Union and   according to an article from PSBJ, Seattle ranked the 7th best market for rental property investing. bellevue home

There are 268 current active rentals per the NWMLS in King County, 72 of which are in Seattle neighborhoods within about 6 miles of the downtown core and primarily made up of apartments and condos.  Rents continue to be competitive in the real estate market.

For more information on Seattle rentals, please contact your local real estate agent.

Capitol Hill Craftsman For Rent: $3,950

cap hill rental

This lovely Craftsman on north Capitol Hill street is now available for rent! This two story home with a basemen, has been remodeled in keeping with the charm of the turn of the century. The kitchen is a state of the art , with an island for sitting and talking with the cook, gas stove , and the kitchen overlooks the back yard that features a wonderful Play set outside. Hardwood floors throughout the first and second floor, and lower level has a family room and an additional bedroom. If you’re interested in this or other Seattle rentals contact your local real estate agent today.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 4//2
Price: $3,950

Tis the Season For Cold Damp Weather – How to Prevent Mold in Your Home

It’s that time of year again, and the cold, damp weather is in full swing. If you’re living in an older rental it is important you check for signs of mold and mildew early this year to avoid extensive build up. Smell a musty odor coming from the basement? Build up of mold spores can accumulate in various parts of the house, causing reactions such as runny nose, itchy or watering eyes, or wheezing. To avoid mass build up, here are some things you can do to prevent and control mold build up in the home. cleaning-tools

See clutter? Organize! Keep things like wood furniture, clothing etc. from contacting the walls and window sills, and put what you can in plastic tubs with tight sealing lids.

Kill mold building up- Scrub the area thoroughly with soap and water to remove the dirt accumulating, and then follow up with a stronger mold/mildew killing solution. Allow the mold killing solution to sit for 5-10 minutes, allowing it to settle in and kill all the germs. Try to find a cleaner without bleach, as bleach will not reach the roots of the mold spores, and may not kill them entirely. Contact your landlord if plumbing leaks occur, or you notice excess moisture in the home that could cause mold. If you’re interested in more information about Seattle rentals, contact your local real estate agent today.

Rising Seattle Rents Show No Sign of Slowing Down

Hundreds of newly built rental units opened up this past year in Seattle, but the demand for more inventory and rental prices have continued to rise, with little to no signs of slowing down. Many renters and homeowners are having to reevaluate their lifestyle changes to keep up with the market today. According to the Seattle Times, wealthy folks are helping to revitalize different neighborhood business districts, but many renters are tied down by mediocre wages, and are being forced to reevaluate their lifestyle, or move out of the city altogether to make ends meet. With low inventory and a growing young tech community of employees, the time to buy a home is altered, and has contributed to the increase in rent through Seattle and the surrounding areas.

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

Photo credit: www.third-estate.com

According to the Times, the cost in renting a studio apartment over the last two years has risen $434 in Wallingford, $419 in Capitol Hill, and $306 in Ballard. The increase in rent is also being fueled by development. With a majority of new development geared for wealthy renters, the increase in inventory will not come to the aid of those just barely scraping by. Many Seattle renter are frustrated with the rise in costs, and are concerned they may not ever be able to save up enough money to buy a home. Many are worried that by the time prices calm down, the Seattle metro area will have a very different look and feel then when they moved to the city. For more information on Seattle Rentals, contact your local Real Estate agent today.