Pressing Pause on 'Rent Bidding' Apps

Several new apps allow landlords to place available units out to bid. The city of Seattle is concerned the apps might exacerbate prices in an already expensive rental market.
March 28, 2018, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Will Merydith

Katie Pyzyk reports that the Seattle City Council has voted into effect a one-year moratorium on rental bidding apps like Rentberry and Biddwell.

The concern of the City Council is that rent bidding apps might drive up the cost of housing and run afoul of fair housing laws. Such apps are relatively new. Planetizen first picked up news about Biddwell in August 2016, and only a few Seattle landlords have adopted the technology.

Pyzyk also provides detail of the "first-in-time" law, which would seem to render the rent bidding apps illegal. The law "requires landlords to provide each applicant with screening criteria and to accept the first qualified applicant for each available unit." 

A press release on the city of Seattle website provides additional details about the City Council vote. Daniel Beekman also provides local coverage of the moratorium.

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Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in Smart Cities Dive
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