In an effort to raise funding to lift the city from an ongoing affordability and homelessness crisis, Seattle will tax short-term rentals like Airbnb.
The City Council passed the new tax Monday with plans for the cost to be tacked onto guest bills starting in 2019. A tax of $14 per night for homes and $8 per night for rooms is hoped to raise more than $7 million per year.
Much of the money raised by the tax is earmarked for the city’s Equitable Development Initiative to push economic development and fight displacement in the Central District, International District, and Rainier Valley.
The council pulled back on larger regulations for the industry that some say has contributed to higher rents in Seattle by taking available housing stock off the market. Regulations including limits on the number of short-term rentals a person can own will move back to committee before coming back to the full council.
The newly approved tax, meanwhile, might never be implemented. State lawmakers have also targeted the industry for possible taxation. A provision in the legislation approved Monday will put Seattle in position to remove its so-called Airbnb tax — If a statewide tax will provide similar funding opportunities to the city.