Seattle Landlords Must Charge For Parking Separate From Rent

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Seattle Landlords Must Charge For Parking Separate From Rent

The Seattle City Council has passed 7-1 an ordinance banning Seattle landlords and property managers from bundling the cost of parking with rental payments.

Landlords of buildings with more than 10 apartments will no longer be able to include the cost of parking in rent, and must bill tenants separately for parking. Tenants, especially those who do not own a car, will have the option then of not paying the landlord for parking if they choose.

“We know that an oversupply of cheap parking has a negative impact on Seattle – it increases driving and traffic congestion, increases our carbon footprint, and makes housing more expensive,” City Councilman Rob Johnson said in a statement.  

Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement she plans to sign the ordinance. "With too many Seattle residents struggle with rising rents, we need to provide more housing. We also have to make frequent transit a reality, and we will continue to work with Metro to increase service on our most popular routes in neighborhoods across Seattle," she said.

“Taking a smarter approach to our parking strategies, as we do through CB 119221, an important step is to ensure that we are creating not only a more vibrant city, but a city that works for everyone as we grow.  The legislation allows for flexible use parking, so that existing and new parking spaces can be shared and used by more people. It eliminates parking requirements for affordable housing units (up to 80% Area Median Income) so that our affordable housing partners can build more housing, and requires unbundling of parking in leases so people who do not own a car will not be required to pay for parking spaces they do not use,” Johnson said.

“Increasing numbers of transit ridership and those who walk and bike coupled with growing options for shared mobility like Uber and Lyft are changing the transportation landscape.  We know that some Seattleites need drive their cars for many different reasons, but we want to build a city that supports transportation choices, too,” Johnson added.

Seattle Landlords Must Charge For Parking Separate From Rent

Some highlights of parking measure for Seattle landlords 

  • Apartment or office building owners will be able to rent out parking spots to people who don't live or work in the building. That's meant to fill in spaces that go empty at certain times of day, according to reports.
  • Landlords will no longer be able to require tenants to pay for a parking space. That could mean lower rents for people who forgo their parking space or just don't own a vehicle.
  • Most new residential buildings in Seattle won't have to come with attached parking lots anymore.


A King County study in 2015  said that construction of parking in multifamily projects costs between $20,000 and $40,000 per stall, driving up the cost of renting an apartment. The Right Size Parking study  also said there is an oversupply of parking for multifamily apartment buildings estimated at 40% over what is actually needed.

“In King County, WA, parking makes up 10-20% of the cost to construct multi-family buildings, but only 6% is recovered through parking charges, meaning that the remainder must be accounted for through rent prices,” according to the study.

“This cross subsidization, or recovering part of the parking investment through higher rental rates, causes a distorted market for parking and reduces the opportunity to use pricing as a tool to manage parking demand,” the study says. “Lower-income households are especially burdened by this distortion as they typically have lower rates of auto ownership and spend a larger percentage of their income on housing.”

“Today, multi-family residential buildings often provide too much automobile parking, which can be an impediment to achieving a wide range of community goals. An oversupply of parking can have deleterious effects on economic development, consumers, the community at large and the environment. Excess parking consumes valuable urban real estate, which contributes to sprawl, lower-density development, and greater distances between buildings.

“Those outcomes can deter walking, transit use and efficient transit service operations. An oversupply of parking can also damage natural landscapes through urban sprawl, increase impervious surfaces and add to greenhouse gas emissions. These considerations pose challenges for communities that want to encourage multi-modal transportation options and promote smart growth land use planning strategies,” the study says.


Seattle parking may be getting better — or worse — depending on who you ask

Right size parking final results study

RIGHT SIZE PARKING Multi-family Parking Strategies Toolkit
King County Multi-Family Residential Parking Calculator

Landlords in Seattle Can’t Force Renters to Pay for Parking Anymore

City Council Approves Changes to Parking Code


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