SEATTLE — Rental bidding platforms have been temporarily banned while Seattle leadership determines whether they are legal.
The city council unanimously prohibited the platforms for a year Monday afternoon. It gives the city time to determine whether rental bidding is "in compliance with the city's regulations and looks at impact on the housing market."
Proponents of affordable housing say the technology could lead to even higher rent prices.
“The reason that is an issue is because in an auction, basically, the person able to pay the most, the richest tenant wins,” Alexander Novokhodko, a UW senior who serves in the student senate, previously told KING 5.
New platforms like Rentberry allow landlords to list properties and potential renters can submit bids. They set a price they'd be willing to pay, and a property owner can accept or reject that. Rentberry says it offers flexibility, transparency and the ability to save money. It says its technology levels the playing field by showing applicants current offers on properties, so they can make educated decisions on how much they are willing to pay for a home, all without the burden of multiple costly applications.
The ordinance points to studies that show rental bidding platforms drive up prices and impact low-income communities.