Understanding Seattle’s Airbnb Rules For Sublets

What are Seattle's rules about Airbnb

Seattle is one of many cities that maintains its own rules regarding subletting. Airbnb rules for sublets in Seattle are subject to a number of legal restrictions showing how Seattle communities view the practice of renting out units on a short-term basis.

Airbnb hosts in Seattle should look at the city’s land use code, to make sure that subletting is consistent with zoning where they live. They’ll also have to inspect building and construction codes that establish standards for habitability. Title 22 of the Seattle municipal code covers this type of regulation.

The city of Seattle considered enacting new subletting regulations in 2016. One of these required short-term rental operators to obtain a license from the city and to put their license number on online listings. As for renters who want to sublet, they’ll have to look at their particular lease to figure out whether it allows for Airbnb or other subletting to occur. City Council members have said new regulations help to protect the city’s housing supply, as the city is experiencing a dire lack of long-term housing.

Learn about proposed legislation that may change current Airbnb rules in Seattle for homeowners, subletters, and investors.

Proposed Legislation Could Impact Airbnb Rules In Seattle

The newest regulations introduced in 2017 recognize the fact that while many people rent out their primary residence, a growing problem is that investors who see the economic potential of short-term rentals take units and sometimes even entire apartment complexes off the market for use as Airbnb short-term rental units. As is true nationwide, Airbnb and its competitors are making an increasing amount of money from individuals who own multiple property units, not just individuals who are renting out space in their homes. While earlier attempts at legislation focused on the number of nights a property was rented out for, the new focus is on the number of units that a landlord rents.

As in some other cities around the country, Airbnb rules in Seattle can be rather vague. Various stakeholders have to understand the specifics on sublet law in a particular neighborhood. Landlords who have prohibited illegal subletting in their leases need to have a way to enforce this lease requirement. Fortunately, there are services who can help individuals monitoring large numbers of properties to make sure that they don’t end up having to deal with excessive Airbnb or short-term subletting.


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