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Tax Exemption bill supports affordable housing—with an efficiency twist

HousingIconA bill currently being considered by the Washington State Legislature would give a tax exemption for affordable housing. This bill would let cities give a 15-year property tax exemption to landlords who keep 25% or more of their units rent restricted for low income families earning no more than 50-60% of area median income (in King County, that’s $45,000-$54,000 for a four-person household).

The bill is a key component of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda—the plan to provide more affordable housing in Seattle (and is also a critical part of Seattle’s climate action strategy).

The City of Seattle worked with a variety of stakeholders on drafting this legislation. OSE collaborated on the legislation—connecting affordability with energy and water efficiency. Possible “local options” for this legislation would extend the tax exemption for landlords meeting some standards for building efficiency. The City of Seattle is interested in these connections since efficiency means lower water and energy bills, which helps protect air and water resources while also supporting affordability.

This Seattle Times article has a good overview.