Seattle Fees Going Up for Landlords

Rental Registration and Inspection Fees

Beginning in 2019, all rental properties located within the City of Seattle will be required to renew their rental registration license. We recently learned the city is proposing drastic changes to the fee and licensing requirements. The below information is proposed and any changes must be approved by the city council.

First, the city is proposing to amend the renewal cycle to a once every two year renewal. Previously, the program required renewal once every five years.

Second, the city proposes changing the fee schedule to “create a more equitable fee structure” and to “better align fees with the work performed.” In 2014, rental properties were charged $175 per building plus $2 for each additional unit in the rental property. For a 100 unit property, the cost was $373 for five years.

The city is proposing to increase the fee to $70 per building and $15 for each additional unit. The proposed increase would require a $1,610 license every two years in a 100 unit building.

Additional changes are being proposed and include new fees. We are assessing opportunities to engage members of the Seattle City Council to further discuss this proposal.


– Courtesy of WMFHA
Washington Multi-Family Housing Association

Puget Sound Energy: Pipeline Rupture!

PSE News Update

A pipeline rupture near Prince George, British Columbia has disrupted natural gas flow from Canada, creating a major disruption of gas supply to the Pacific Northwest, including Puget Sound Energy. At present, there is no estimated time for return to service. This incident could affect PSE’s ability to supply natural gas to customers’ homes and businesses. Although PSE’s supply of gas has been impacted, there is no damage to the PSE gas system or safety hazard to our customers from the pipeline failure in Canada.

PSE is asking customers to help conserve natural gas and electricity. Customers can set their thermostats at a lower setting and limit the use of hot water, such as dishwashing or clothes washing, and other natural gas and electric appliances through Wednesday.

PSE is doing all we can to maintain our natural gas system operations, and we’ll provide updates as we learn more from our supplier. For electric generation, PSE is switching natural gas generators to alternative fuels.

Your Rights as a Property Owner and the Seattle Waterfront LID


The City of Seattle is in the process of creating a special tax assessment property owners as part of its Waterfront Seattle project. Known as a Local Improvement District (LID), the tax would apply to commercial and residential properties in the 98101, 98104, 98164, and 98122 zip codes. The purpose of the LID is to pay for improvements to the waterfront after the removal of the Viaduct, including a $110 million bridge.

The City is seeking $200 million from property owners in the LID area to pay for certain improvements to the Waterfront. Some owners will pay as much as $8 million in additional property tax associated with the LID. In 2013, the City of Seattle budgeted the entire project to cost $700 million. Now with a shortage of labor, and increased cost of raw materials, it is anticipated the cost will soar well above this $700 million marker.

The city has estimated the special benefit and formulated a preliminary assessment of each residential and commercial property in the LID area. Undeveloped or under-construction properties have a much smaller special benefit.

Many concerned property owners have been meeting for the past two years to find common ground, alternative funding opportunities, and reduction of the overall LID. Though this group has made progress in negotiating a reasonable agreement with the Mayor’s office, the City Council can do what they wish with any agreement, or create their own path.

Property owners have many concerns about this project, including its budget, the opportunity for the city to levy a supplemental assessment if (when) the project exceeds its budget, on-going operations, and maintenance funding, and safety. Property owners along the waterfront have fallen victim to years of construction disruption because of the seawall replacement, Colman Dock renovation and more. More importantly, there is a strong possibility the tax-hungry City Council could see the Local Improvement Districts as an opportunity to fund pet projects across the city.

Challenging a special benefit and preliminary assessment can be difficult, because the special benefit is, simply put, “voodoo economics.” However, if owners of 60% of the value of the special assessment (in this case $120 million) “protest” the formation of the LID, the LID fails and the special assessment is defeated. This is a property owner’s strongest tool to take a stand against ever-increasing property taxes and paying for something in which you may not receive a special benefit as a property owner. The “protest” is a simple letter, sent to the City of Seattle’s Clerk. Protests can be sent immediately. Protests are revocable but must be resubmitted within 30 days after the creation of the LID. It is anticipated that the Council will vote on the formation of the LID on October 8

Please forward this email to the owners of your properties in the affected area to consider whether they may be affected but this supplemental tax assessment and wish to file a protest. Please contact Brett Waller at or (425) 656-9077 with any questions.

– courtesy of WMFHA (Washington Multi-Family Housing Association)

South Pierce County I-5 Improvements

Washington State Dept. of Transportation provided an update regarding construction: Travelers who use Interstate 5 in south Pierce County can look forward to additional lanes and new overpasses. Beginning in October, design-build contractor Atkinson Construction will begin work to replace the Berkeley Street and Thorne Lane overpasses, and widen I-5 from milepost 120 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to Thorne Lane in Lakewood.

Once complete, the number of northbound and southbound lanes on I-5 will increase from three to four in each direction. Additional auxiliary lanes will be constructed on northbound I-5 between Berkeley Street and Gravelly Lake Drive, and on southbound I-5 in two places — from Gravelly Lake Drive to Thorne Lane and from Berkeley Street to the JBLM main gate.

The new Thorne Lane and Berkeley Street interchanges will be grade-separated, or built a different height, from the existing rail line, reducing the potential of conflicts with trains. Both new interchanges will be built adjacent to their respective existing overpasses. New roundabouts and signalized intersections will help traffic flow through the area. The new Berkeley overpass will be one structure and the new Thorne Lane overpass will feature two bridge structures.

What to expect during the two-and-a-half year construction project:

  • Narrowed and shifted lanes on I-5 and ramps.
  • Overnight lane and ramp closures, some weekend ramp closures and one extended closure of the Berkeley Street on-ramp to northbound I-5.
  • Extended closure of Union Avenue at Thorne Lane.

The $243 million dollar I-5 Steilacoom-DuPont Road to Thorne Lane – Corridor Improvements project is expected to be complete in summer of 2021. WSDOT is hosting an open house 4:30 to 7:00 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Tillicum Elementary School. This will be an opportunity for community members to learn about the construction schedule and the effect on traffic.

Contact: Cara Mitchell, WSDOT communications

%d bloggers like this: