Proposal would require landlords to unbundle parking from rent

VIDEO: Parking proposal in Seattle

SEATTLE — Several local organizations got together at Seattle City Hall to support parking reform on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

They're proposing to require landlords to separate the cost of parking from rent.

It turns out that most of those units that do bundle parking and rent together are in SoDo.

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A new plan would break that up so renters, who don't have cars, wouldn't be automatically paying for those who need a place to park.

"I'm being forced to purchase maybe a parking spot that I would never ever use,” Andrew Sang, a University of Washington student, said. “This is adding significant cost to my monthly rent or potentially my cost of purchasing a home."

Sang, who moved to Seattle from Canada, is one of many who are paying for a parking space they're not using.

But not everyone in Seattle is in favor of a proposal that would require landlords to separate the parking cost from rent.

"If you're going to force that to happen, then you're going to force an increase to everybody because the landlord now will have to manage for one person,” Steve Rubstello, who is against the proposal, said. “[The landlords will say] 'I have one person in the four unit, five unit building who doesn't want to pay for the parking space. He wants a discount.'"

The proposal that's being considered right now came out of the Mayor's office in November 2017.

"I'm definitely for unbundling as a renter who does not own a car,” Meg Wade, organizer with 350 Seattle, said. “It seems a little odd to me that the cost of my housing should be increased by $300-500 for the sake of paying for a space that I don't need."

350 Seattle, who hopes tenants see parking taken out of their rent very soon, is also hoping that it reduces the number of cars in downtown Seattle.

"I hope the city follows us and says, 'Yes, we're going to invest even more in transit,'" said Wade.

Supporters told KIRO 7 they hope by not forcing new buildings to have parking, it will lower construction costs and lead to more affordable rental rates.

The issue will come up again before city council on Wednesday, March 7.

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