Seattle Ordinance Restricts Rent Increases

Seattle residential landlords must give 60 days notice to increase rent ten percent or more in any twelve-month period. For rent increases of less than ten percent the landlord may give only 30 days notice.

A new Seattle ordinance limits the ability of Seattle residential landlords to increase any periodic housing costs—including not only rent, but also other costs such storage or parking fees. The new rent and housing costs restrictions apply not only to increases of ten percent or more, but to any increase regardless of the amount.

In all rent increase notices and other notices of housing costs increases Seattle residential landlords must now “describe how the tenant may obtain information about the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords under” Seattle ordinances.

The tenant may then challenge the rent increase or other housing costs increase if the tenant “believes the housing unit has defective conditions.” The tenant may then notify the owner, who must correct the conditions. Either the tenant or landlord may request an inspection by the City of Seattle. No rent increase takes effect until the property passes City inspection.

A landlord may face civil penalties for violation of the ordinance. There are no repercussions for a tenant’s bad faith challenge to a rent or housing costs increase—although tenants may be required to reimburse the City if the City of Seattle paid emergency relocation assistance on false pretenses.

Also, a rent increase or other housing costs increase will go into effect if the tenant refuses access for inspection.