Seattle city councilmember Tim Burgess has proposed regulations for short-term rentals, like Airbnb and VRBO.
The proposal, announced Monday, requires hosts to get a short-term rental operator’s license with the city. The city would not impose any restriction on the number of nights a host can operate their short-term rental, Burgess said, as long as it’s the host’s primary residence. Hosts would be allowed one other short-term rental property.
Burgess said limiting hosts to two short-term rental properties per person will impact those who’re commercializing the process.
“We’re trying to protect the long-term housing supply in the city, and we all know that’s a challenge right now,” said Burgess. “We’re trying to prohibit the conversion of long-term housing to short-term rentals, except for your primary property plus one other.”
Fremont neighborhood homeowner Shawn Telford was worried last year when he heard the city was thinking of regulating Airbnbs. But Monday, he welcomed the regulations Burgess proposed.
“I’ll be able to continue to operate as I have been operating and I’m grateful for that,” he said, adding the money earned helps him pay for his mortgage.
“This is the best opportunity I’ve ever had to become a homeowner and stay a homeowner and stay in this city. I’ve had an exodus of friends,” he said.
Telford has two units, a basement space and an airstream trailer, but they count as one under the city’s proposed plan because they’re on the same property, Burgess said.
Laura Spanjian, Airbnb Public Policy Director for the Northwest, wrote the following statement to KING 5.
“Airbnb welcomes the new proposal from the City of Seattle regarding the proposed regulation of short-term rentals. We continue to work closely with the City on developing regulations that will protect Seattle’s long-term housing stock while allowing thousands of responsible Airbnb hosts to share their homes to earn meaningful supplemental income to help make ends meet.”
Airbnb claims 60 percent of Seattle hosts say hosting has helped them stay in their homes.
Burgess hopes the city council will vote on the proposal in June.