Seattle is a great market to invest in rental properties. This fast-paced city offers incredible opportunities to younger generations that are more likely to rent as they finish school and begin their careers and family life. However, investing in Seattle requires a careful pricing strategy considering new rental laws affecting rental cap rates and notice requirements.
Is There Rent Control In Seattle or Washington State?
In 2020, Governor Jay Inslee put a temporary freeze on rent increases and evictions throughout Washington to protect renters from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this rent freeze is currently expired, and Washington has no other rent control measures in place as of 2022.
While Seattle and Washington's state do not explicitly restrict rental rates or rental increases anymore, the city of Seattle recently enacted other rent restrictions to protect its citizens from unfair rental practices and increases.
New Rent Laws in Seattle
While Seattle has not kept a rent increase freeze or imposed rental increase cap rates like California, they now require a more extensive rent increase notice process. As of July 2022, any rent increase requires a landlord to provide a written notice 180 days before the rent increase date. Landlords must also include the following information in the increase notice:
Right to legal counsel: City law provides renters who are unable to pay for an attorney the right to free legal representation in an eviction lawsuit. If you need help understanding this notice or information about your renter rights, call the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684-5700 or visit the website at www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.
New restrictions are also required if the rent increase is 10% or more than the current rental rate. The notice must be delivered by hand or in the mail and include a packet of information regarding the new economic displacement relocation assistance program. A new lease with a 10% or more rent increase must also:
- Include a clause describing the increase
- Include the information above regarding legal counsel and the relocation assistance program
- Be delivered by hand or mail
Rental Trends in Seattle
These new rental requirements come at a time when rental rates in Seattle are skyrocketing. The average rent for an apartment in the city is around $2,300 a month, which is substantially higher than national averages. Because of the pandemic rent freeze, many renters fear their current rental rates will increase at unprecedented rates. However, Seattle is attempting to mitigate this problem by providing renters plenty of notice and, therefore, a bargaining chip in the rental increase race.
Not all Seattle neighborhoods are priced this high—however, areas such as Rainier View and Innis Arden average between $1,500 and $1,600 per month. Approximately 55% of Seattle residents are renters, and these affordable neighborhoods are posed to increase in popularity over the coming years.
How To Price Your Seattle Rental Unit
Because Seattle is such a competitive and highly diverse rental market, it's essential to plan your pricing strategy with both market trends and new regulations in mind. RentSpree offers a convenient tool to help you price your rental based on these laws and other similarly listed and performing rentals in your area.
Our Rent Estimator and other landlord tools can help you make your rental stand out against the steep competition in Seattle. To learn more, contact your RentSpree representative or schedule a demo today.