Seattle landlord says new requirements could shrink rental options

Oct 6, 2021, 5:01 AM


Activists hold a protest against evictions on Aug. 11, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Statewide and at the individual city levels — including in Seattle — eviction moratoriums put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be extended. The Seattle City Council has also now added other rental rules as well that small landlords say make it harder to own properties.

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One of the newer requirements is that if a landlord wants to raise the rent, tenants will have to be given six months notice. The second requires a landlord to pay relocation assistance to the tenants if the rent is increased by more than 10% and the tenant moves out.

“It might work for some big corporation that owns 1,000 apartments, but it doesn’t work for those of us who own four, or five, or six properties,” local landlord Ed Doyne told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

Doyne and his wife are retired and invested in these properties years ago.

“We started shortly after we got married, instead of putting money in the stock market or some other crazy thing we invested in real estate,” he said.

“We rent properties fairly and we abide by the rules and regulations, but we’ve gotten to the point where it makes no sense anymore,” he added. “And so we’ve started selling the properties that we owned in Seattle. I mean, we just [have] to get out.”

Now, Doyne says they’re having a hard time finding a buyer for the property they want to sell.

“This is a duplex in Wallingford that we’ve had for 18 years,” he said. “Our retirement theory was we buy these properties when we can afford them. We hang on to them, we take care of them, we maintain them, we take care of the tenants. We’ve had tenants who have been in our properties, in some cases, for 16 years. And now it just makes no sense anymore.”

“Now, when we want to get the money out and use it as our retirement income, we’re having a hard time selling it at a market rent or at the market rate because nobody wants to be a landlord,” he added.

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Dori explained his concern that if all the people who rent single-family houses say enough is enough and sell their properties, and the only people who can afford to buy them are those who want to live in them, then the rental market will dry up and drive rents higher. So, he asks, won’t this be the exact opposite effect of what the council and government leaders want?

“Exactly,” Doyne agreed. “That’s what happened in our West Seattle case. The two homes that we sold, single-family homes, are both now occupied by great families and they’re not in the rental market anymore, which is great for those two families and we’re happy for them. But it doesn’t do anything for our kids who want to rent houses someplace.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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