One simple thing the government could do to ease the housing shortage » Publications » Washington Policy Center

One of the contributing factors to rising housing costs are the additional regulations that are continually being passed by the local legislature and municipalities. Increased costs, driven by regulations, are invariably passed on to the home buyer and range from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Even a few dollars of additional costs, multiplied by several government mandates, add up quickly.

The Condominium Act, originally passed in 1989, was designed to help regulate condo construction. Over the past 3 decades, legislatures have changed the law attempting to create a homeowners “bill of rights” and the result has been disastrous on condo building. Marlet. The same can be said for the other regulations adopted on the construction of houses.

Not only have the changes negatively impacted condo owners, but the law updates have also destroyed the condo building industry.

In 2009, the condominium law was changed, increasing the risk of construction for a developer and causing a significant decline in the construction of affordable condos. The law was updated to allow condo associations to sue developers for poor performance with little or no limits on the size and type of lawsuits. The result was that developers, unwilling to take on the risk, pulled out of the condo market and very few new condos were built over the next decade. Several fixes were put in place, including a process for developers to correct errors before a lawsuit was filed, but this was not enough to reverse the negative effects of the 2009 update.

In 2019, the Condominium Act was updated to address issues created by previous changes. The latest round of updates, however, did not have time to take effect and since the authorization process can take years.

The overly restrictive law also increased insurance costs and changed the type and quantity of condos that were built. There is little cost difference in insurance premiums for building a basic condo and a luxury condo, so developers are naturally more inclined to build a more expensive condo where profit margins are higher. important.

The same goes for the authorization process. The same permits are required (although some cost more for a more expensive property) regardless of the price of the condo and the cost of permits is passed on to the home buyer.

The home builder must navigate the complex permitting process and government regulations that take time and money, driving up the cost of construction. Seattle’s licensing process price list alone is 60 pages long.

The permitting process can take years, which again increases the cost of construction, as a developer must bear the cost of the land, plan and permit before even starting to build. This complex and slow process is one of the main reasons why we have a housing shortage today.

Even if you close a building in Seattle, there is a $271 fee for a vacancy inspection.

A complete revision of the construction authorization process is necessary. Unnecessary regulations should be repealed. For permits that are required, permits should be able to be processed concurrently rather than sequentially. Multiple permits for the same construction activity must be combined into one permit. For example, three permits are required in Kittitas County to draw water from an existing well, all issued by different government agencies.

Reducing unnecessary regulations and simplifying the process will also reduce insurance costs.

Agencies should be required to adhere to a permit processing timeframe to reduce the time required for the permitting process.

The legislature and local municipalities need to simplify the building code and the permitting process. The system is bloated and overly complex and, as is the case with updates to condominium regulations, does nothing to reduce costs and, in many cases, offers no additional security or protection to the home buyer.

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