Airbnb hosts: Proposed Seattle rule is 'one size fits none' | KUOW News and Information

Airbnb hosts: Proposed Seattle rule is 'one size fits none'

Jun 15, 2016

People that run Airbnb-style rentals in Seattle say proposed city rules are too narrow. Opponents of the rule shared their concerns at a City Council committee meeting Wednesday.

For a meeting in which the council was discussing, not voting, on the changes, Councilmember Tim Burgess noted that a lot of citizens showed up. More than 30 signed up to speak.

Burgess has proposed changes to Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rental operations. Under the proposal, people who don't live on the property can only rent out a unit 90 days a year.

Burgess said it's focused on apartments in which the owner rents out several housing units just for short term stays.

But it would impact others, too; like Robert Porter, who bought a rundown house next door to his home to rent out to travelers.

"I spent months of my own labor trying to get this house in shape to be able to put on the short term market," Porter said. "My job's been phased out, this is the only way we can go forward [and] I don't think we fit your goals of affordable housing and more houses on the market."

Another speaker said each host is unique and that the proposal is "one size fits none" and isn't going to help the housing situation.

Others said running a short term rental is what keeps them afloat financially.

A few people at the meeting praised Burgess's proposal, one saying she's worried about safety with so many travelers passing through her apartment building.

An Airbnb survey says 87 percent of hosts in Seattle are renting out part of their permanent home. The proposal would have minimal impact on those rental operators.

The committee and the full City Council plan to vote on the rules in July.