Industry News

Write Seattle Council in opposition to caps on move-in fees and deposit payment plans

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 08:18:00 -0900

Looking to write Seattle Council in opposition to CB 118817 but don't know where to start? Consider using the sample letter below. Landlords are strongly encouraged to add their own context or personal experiences.
 
Seattle Council email addresses: bruce.harrell@seattle.gov; lisa.herbold@seattle.gov; kshama.sawant@seattle.gov; rob.johnson@seattle.gov; debora.juarez@seattle.gov; mike.obrien@seattle.gov; sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov; tim.burgess@seattle.gov; lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov 
 
Dear Councilmember,

As an independent landlord in Seattle I am writing to ask that you vote NO on CB 118817 which would enact caps on all tenant move-in costs and force landlords to provide payment plans on those costs.

CB 118817 is poor policy. Independent landlords place themselves in a position of financial risk every time they turn the keys over to a new tenant. Move-in fees are the only means available to an independent landlord, such as myself, to mitigate those risks. In fact, the ability to charge move-in fees, which are overwhelmingly refundable, allows me to keep monthly rents lower.

Independent landlords are not financial lenders with unlimited capital and an ability to absorb financial losses by spreading risk over thousands of units. Forcing me to provide payment plans - essentially a 6-month term, 0% interest loan - as requested by a renter is simply unfair.
 
This proposal is also a disaster for the very people intended to be helped by it - lower-income renters. As an independent landlord I have the flexibility to work with renters, many of whom need help in qualifying for a unit. I can do this by lowering screening criteria or waiving certain criteria in exchange for larger security payments up front (known as Adverse Action). Cap on move-in fees will not only remove my ability to offer adverse action to underqualified renters, they will also push me to raise my standards to ensure a qualified renter presents the lowest amount of risk possible - particularly in light of the recent "First in Time" ordinance.

I am asking you to consider basic economics when an independent landlord rents their property without sufficient, up-front financial guarantees to ensure things such as damages and unpaid rent will be covered. The unintended consequences of CB 118756 are numerous, and will force me to find other ways of mitigating those risks.

Please vote NO on CB 118817.

Thank you,
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