With the rising cost of rent and the increasing demand for housing, it’s not a wonder that some enterprising investors have begun to convert their single family homes into four person boarding houses.  Unfortunately for those entrepreneurs, the city of Bellevue is protesting these new rentals, not because they are breaking any law, but because the tenants aren’t keeping up the homes as well as a real ‘family’ might.  

Bellevue’s new ordinance, published on the 23rd of September, limits the number of adults living in the home, and also limits the rental of the home unless the owner is either a business real estate investor or living in the home. The following Bellevue property management tips tell you how to handle the new regulations.  

Single-Family Homes to Multi-Person Rentals 

Bellevue is one of the most populous suburbs of the Seattle area, and for good reason. With a prime location near colleges and work, people of all ages are almost forced to live there in order to cut their daily commute. Unfortunately, with most of the housing listed as single family homes, affordable rentals are scarce. Added to the rising cost of buying a home, and the ready availability of renters, families, couples, and anyone who already owns a home have begun to let out single rooms in their homes. Others have done all out conversions, creating larger and roomier spaces, and even building new boarding house type homes in the area. Unfortunately, while enterprising, these ‘boarding houses’ are neither regulated nor licensed, and many are not even inspected. Room rental rates are going for roughly $600-$700 per room with some houses letting out as many as 5 to 7 rooms per household. While many homeowners are doing this to help cover their mortgage or rent, others are turning a large profit on homes already in the family, or homes purchased at the start of the real estate boom.  


Bellevue’s Curb on Rentals 

Unfortunately for those already renting out rooms, Bellevue’s new ordinance mean harsh changes for non-professional renters. The new laws, published on September 23rd, state that no more than four unrelated adults can live in the same home at once, and that no more than two rooms in each house can be rented out and the homeowners must actually live in the home. The changes are similar to regulations released in Auburn earlier this year. While the current ordinance is temporary, Bellevue will be holding a meeting to create a permanent one on November 4th.  

The changes come after residents began to complain of crowded parking, unkempt houses, trash in yards, and even rats. While receiving a lower rental rate, the discount clearly negatively effects the tenants view of the property as most of them seem to be taking little to no care of their housing.  

If you plan on renting out single rooms inside of a home, consider getting it inspected and licensed as a boarding house. If you plan on letting the home out as a business then you have to register it with the city as a business. Visit the town hall, or check Ci.bellevue.wa.us for more information. You will have to file a business license application, and a city business license addendum. Setting up fire and safety inspections, getting a maximum limit for the number of persons allowed to stay in the home, and making sure that all safety and building codes are up to date on the home are also crucial for a successful application.  

Want to learn more about how to rent out your single family home? Contact Bellevue property management company SJA Property Management today to get a free quote.