(Relatively) Landlord friendly cities in Puget Sound?

6 Replies

/Most/ of the tenant advocacy and over-the-top protection ordinances are in Seattle ; there is activity and substantial additional ordinances s well as cities of Burien, Federal Way, Tacoma,  Everett, and Bellingham that I am aware of ; could be more.   However if Seattle is a "10" on the relative scale of worse-ness then the next worst is maybe a "5".   For example burien passed an inspection program (annoying to those of us who give a dang, but manageable and doesn't impinge on tenant screening, setting rents, etc) and they have some rules around move-in fees and relocation,  but they haven't passed any rules blocking out important screening criteria or preventing you from controlling who moves into your property)   In total scale of additional rules at the municipal level Tacoma has the most after Seattle,  but their leadership and rules are still sufficiently more balanced that its an area worth looking at  (if there are still any good deals to be had) 

There is activity by tenant advocates on the statewide scale to enact some of the same sorts of rules seattle has (just cause, restricted screening criteria, severe limits on ability to evict, collect up front fees, and control occupancy),  and what is probably going to become an annual attempt to enact statewide rent control until it happens.  I suspect we will eventually get it similar to oregon's or california's.   Not as severe as new york or san francisco ;  and maybe possible to work within as long as you didn't recently buy a below-market performing building for market-rate prices with the expectation of large rent increases.

I'd focus on secondary and tertiary cities (my top 3 - renton, burien, tukwila; though there are many more I would also consider)  or as previously suggested,  east of the cascades.   Even if additional regulations are passed statewide, the local government leadership should continue to be a bit more balanced.

FWIW I spent a couple days in Spokane last week -  I cumulatively walked or biked about 40 miles around various neighborhoods.  Spokane isn't perfect but its a nice town and worth looking at...


@Brian Hughes thanks for the report on various cities in Wa. I find Tumwater and Aberdeen to be quite level headed as well. But I need to venture East.

The Washington LL Association is very worthwhile (for anyone who is unfamiliar). They offer legal support, training, documents, great for networking and they are active lobbying on our behalf and even have a pretty good track record of getting laws reversed and stalled. Membership is downright cheap! I'm just a regular member passing it on. All the best!

Aberdeen is requiring city officials inspect rental properties and require a business license fee per rental. The surrounding towns have no additional burdens in landlords. Grays Harbor has good cash flow opportunities, including Aberdeen. 

Originally posted by @David Stone :

Aberdeen is requiring city officials inspect rental properties and require a business license fee per rental. The surrounding towns have no additional burdens in landlords. Grays Harbor has good cash flow opportunities, including Aberdeen. 

We have a 12 unit building in Aberdeen. The license was 34 dollars as I recall. We called the city to have an inspector come out when they launched the program; the code enforcement people have been helpful with neighbors garbage etc, and we have city employees as tenants. They inspected 2 units-I'm glad they do that, there are some sleazy LL's operating in town. We have looked in Montesano-even made offers............but have not connected yet.