Owners of short-term rental units spoke out against proposed regulations at a public hearing in Seattle on Monday night.
For two years, Seattle city councilmembers have been working to craft regulations around short-term rentals, like Airbnb. It started with concerns that property owners were shifting hundreds of homes from the long-term residential market to short-term rental platforms, and as a result reducing Seattle's housing supply.
Earlier this month, council approved a tax for the short-term rental market of $14 per night for each dwelling unit and $8 per night for each guest room in Seattle.
Elizabeth Conlin arrived at City Hall, urging councilmembers to be fair as they move forward with regulations.
Conlin rents out a guest room in her North Seattle home. She uses the Airbnb site, charging $52 a night during peak season. She says she depends on that money.
"It means that I can stay in my house," said Conlin.
Dozens of short term rental operators were in attendance Monday.
"We don't want to further restrict short term rentals,” said Michelle Acquavella, chair of the Short Term Rental Alliance. “We came up with what we believe is a very fair compromise."
Acquavella says she is in favor of the compromise that the Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods, and Finance Committee reached in September. But she is against recently proposed amendments, like limits on the number of short-term rentals a person can operate.
Councilmember Rob Johnson says the city is still working on short-term rental regulations.
"On the one hand, it allows for a lot of long-term Seattleites to continue to afford living in the city. On the other hand, it is displacing others and we need to be sensitive and cognizant of that, and try and strike a good balance between the revenue and regulation," said Johnson.
Councilmembers heard from members of the public, including Conlin.
"I'm hoping as you move forward you will really consider who we are," she said, stressing that her short-term rental helps fill a big financial void.
Councilmembers are expected to vote on short term rental regulations on December 5.