Like it or hate it, it's not a stretch to say Seattle City Council has been getting their nose into real estate. From the Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance, to disallowing criminal background searches, limiting move in fees and requiring landlords to provide payment plans for move-in fees, limiting AirBnB properties and enacting nightly fees on AirBnB properties - they've even tried to get past existing Washington legislation disallowing rent control.
But what about controlling how properties are rented?
Enter Rentberry.com. According to its website, Rentberry.com "is a transparent home rental service and a price negotiation platform uniting tenants and landlords," and that has affordable housing proponents worried.
Their concern is that the auction nature of the process would lead to the property renting to whomever was willing to pay the most, which could end up being the wealthiest bidder getting the property. This is why a group of UW Student Senators has presented legislation to the Seattle City Council to ban rent bidding.
Here's the bright side... there is a glut of brand new apartments that have already begun hitting the market as the many new projects around Seattle come to completion, and these have already started softening rental prices in the city.
Given their recent history, I wouldn't put it past Seattle City Council members to wrestle down the free market process by passing legislation like what the UW Student Senators proposed. A "free market economy," as defined by businessdictionary.com, is "an economic system where the government does not interfere in business activity in any way."
If they were to pass such legislation, a free market rental economy would no longer be in the rear view mirror... it would be out of sight.