SEATTLE - A Seattle City Councilmember is proposing a cap on the amount of money landlords can charge incoming renters.
The ordinance from Kshama Sawant would limit move-in fees - including a security deposit and any nonrefundable, one-time payments - to no more than the cost of one month's rent.
The Seattle Times reports Sawant's legislation also would require landlords to allow renters to pay their move-in fees in installments rather than immediately and in full. Landlords asking for last month's rent up front would also likewise be required to accept that sum in installments.
Sawant said her proposal is aimed at reducing costs for Seattle renters during a time in which many of them are struggling to make ends meet.
Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Mike O'Brien will support Sawant's proposed ordinance, they said last week. But Washington's Rental Housing Association, a trade group for landlords, will not.
Sean Martin, the group's external affairs director, said Sawant's cap on move-in fees could push landlords to tighten up other qualification measures, such as the amount of money a renter must earn or their credit score.
Rents in the Seattle area are rising faster than in any other big city in the country for the first time in this decade.
According to data from Zillow, the typical monthly rent in the Seattle metro area surpassed $2,000 for the first time this spring and is up 9.7 percent in the past year. That's growth at nearly four times the national average