by Sarah J.F. Braley | December 13, 2017
On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted 7-0 to impose limits on short-term rentals in the city, creating safety, insurance and licensing requirements for operators like Airbnb. 
 
The regulations go into effect Jan. 1, 2019, defining a licensing framework for short-term rentals and putting a cap on the number of units an operator can run. Operators will be able to get a license to offer up to two dwelling units as short-term rentals. Units run by a short-term rental operator before Sept. 30, 2017, are exempt from this limit, and those operators will be allowed to add two units. All future operators are limited to offering their primary residence plus one additional unit.
 
According to the Seattle Times, the council previously passed a tax on short-term rentals of $14 per night for entire homes and $8 per night for rooms. 
 
The Seattle Hotel Association has supported the legislation. "Treating short-term rentals with an equal commitment to the safety of visitors is the right thing to do, and it will ensure that Seattle remains a safe and welcoming place for guests, wherever they choose to stay," said Shannon Sheron, president of the SHA. "Securing this legislation has been a long journey, and the Seattle Hotel Association has been committed and engaged in addressing unregulated short-term rentals since they first appeared."
 
Airbnb worked with the the city to create the new regulations. "This vote is a landmark win for Airbnb hosts and guests," said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb's Northwest public-policy director. "These rules ensure the overwhelming majority of our hosts can continue to share their homes and earn extra money. Airbnb applauds the city of Seattle for developing a model regulatory framework and we look forward to continuing to work with the city as this new law is implemented."
 
According to the home-sharing company, 62 percent of its Seattle hosts say their Airbnb income helps them afford to stay in their homes, and in 2016, more than 350 Seattle hosts said they avoided foreclosure or eviction thanks to their Airbnb income. Airbnb activity generated an estimated $283 million in economic impact in Seattle last year, including an estimated $216 million in visitor spending.