Bellevue extends multi-room rental ordinance

Bellevue City Councilmembers voted unanimously Monday March 3 to extend for an additional six months an emergency ordinance addressing individual room rentals in residential dwellings. The planning commission will ramp up work on a final ordinance later this month.

Spearheaded by concerns from Spiritwood neighborhood residents, the City Council approved the emergency ordinance in September and reaffirmed it in November.

The ordinance restricts the number of unrelated renters in a dwelling unit to four and will require those with leases in rooming houses in single-family residential areas to move out by July 1. The exception would be if four unrelated persons can show they are operating as a family unit.

There was an absence of Bellevue College students, who have been the strongest opponents to the ordinance, but a number of Spiritwood residence came out Monday to reiterate their support for it.

They added since the emergency ordinance took effect the problem of such rentals in their neighborhood continues and requests for enforcement have been submitted with the city.

Carol Helland, city land use director, said property developers requesting permission for remodels that indicate potential multi-room rentals are asked to sign an agreement stating that won't be the purpose of those homes, which aids in enforcement should they later be found to be doing so. Only one agreement has needed to be drafted, so far, she added.

The city's planning commission, which will draft a permanent resolution for council consideration before summer break, is set to begin work at its March 12 meeting.


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