Bellevue scolds landlord after tenant rents home on Airbnb

Aug 27, 2018, 6:21 AM | Updated: Aug 30, 2018, 5:49 am
seattle, airbnb, housing, loftium...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

Because of the growing popularity of Airbnb, landlords might be breaking the law and not even realizing it.

Consider the case of Bellevue landlords Rhonda Benedict-Job and Jeannie Vahlsing. They’d been successfully renting out homes for decades, so they were surprised when they received complaints about one of their properties.

RELATED: Seattle approves regulations on short-term lodging

“The neighbors said it was kind of like a frat-house with young men out in the backyard, and making loud noises and up all night,” Benedict-Job said.

That didn’t sound like the renter they approved for the house. The landlords rented their house to a young woman, whom they had vetted. But that woman, however, turned around and rented out the home’s individual rooms through Airbnb.

The City of Bellevue accused the landlords of breaking local codes. City officials showed them photos of the home on the Airbnb website.

KIRO Radio found additional evidence of this allegation at the house itself. A woman who answered the door said she was not the primary renter, but one of four people who were renting individual rooms at the home. A young man confirmed that he found the house through an Airbnb ad, but said that the residents were all leaving at the end of the month.

Vahlsing said it was a good thing the renter had decided to end the lease, because the Airbnb traffic was hard on her neighbors, and her property.

“And besides, it’s illegal,” she said.

Airbnb and city codes

Carol Helland, code and policy director for the City of Bellevue, said “The city regulates transient lodging. Airbnb type lodging isn’t permitted in single family areas.”

Helland says homeowners can apply for permits to operate a bed and breakfast or boarding house. The city controls the number of homes that offer those short-term rentals.

“Most landlords who are reputable, rent for year-increments,” Helland explained. “That maintains the stability of those neighborhoods. We have families that get to know one another. We don’t have people coming in-and-out of the neighborhood that don’t view that area as their primary residence, so they treat it like they belong there, as opposed to like they’re staying in a hotel.”

Homeowners who violate the city’s land use code face fines of up to $500 per day. Owners can seek to evict problem tenants. Benedict-Job and Vahlsing say they’re avoiding both, now that their official renter is ending her lease. In this case, it’s a lesson learned.

Airbnb declined requests for an interview, but does note on its website that hosts must comply with local laws.

Local News

Teen home run ball...
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

Teen from Puyallup catches home run ball that ended M’s 21-year playoff drought

17-year-old Marchany Roman, of Puyallup, caught the drought-ending home run hit by Cal Raleigh after the M's defeated Oakland Friday night.
1 day ago
smiley woke...
L.B. Gilbert

Tiffany Smiley criticizes Seattle Times over cease and desist letter

After being issued a cease and desist order, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley is now criticizing The Seattle Times.
1 day ago
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 30: Julio Rodriguez #44 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates with fan...
Nicole Jennings

Mariners will not be hosting playoff games this weekend

The Mariners will be playing in the first round of the MLB playoff games this weekend. So how likely is it that those games will take place in Seattle?
1 day ago
Aberdeen High School...
Sam Campbell

Boy accused of using Aberdeen HS TikTok to post shooting threats

Classes are set to resume in Aberdeen after they were canceled because of threats posted to one of the high school’s social media accounts.
1 day ago
Suspect in REI bike theft - Police said the suspect admitted to stealing the bike, and he was arres...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Man suspected of stealing bike from REI worth $2,400 arrested in Bellevue

A man suspected of stealing a bike worth $2,400 was arrested by Bellevue police on Tuesday.
1 day ago
Flood Insurance...
Ted Buehner

Rainy season is in a month, are you ready with flood insurance?

After an all-time record dry summer, it may be hard to believe that the Washington flood season is just around the corner.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Bellevue scolds landlord after tenant rents home on Airbnb