In recent news, owners at Elektra condominiums are getting upset over VRUs (Vacational Rental Units) in their building which they believe violate the city's zoning law and have enlisted the city help. Even though VRUs are mentioned in the Elektra ownership agreement, the Department of Planning and Development's (DPD) position is that the city codes override anything in the owners' contract. Now, VRU owners are appealing the DPD's decision. A decision will be made by DPD in a few months.
Personally, I think it's reasonable for owners to rent their property for longer periods like 6 months to a year. However, if the units become a high turn-around accommodation for non-residents, it changes the dynamic of the condo. I can totally understand Elektra owners' concerns. I would prefer to know who my neighbors are instead of meeting random people in the elevator all the time.
More about Elektra Condominiums:
Elektra is one of the older high-rise condominiums in downtown Seattle (1400 Hubbell Place). Built in the late 1950's, the building comprises 200 units with studio, one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans. Studios start at a little over 300 square feet, one bedrooms range from 400's-900 square feet and two bedrooms are from 660 to as high as 1,400 square feet for the penthouse units. One bedroom's start in the low $200,000's and two bedroom's start in the low $300,000's. Due to its accessible price point and location, this building is one of the top choices for first-time home buyers and investors. However, the unattractive part for this building is the the exterior and interior common areas. They look dated and apartment like.
Wendy, they are changing the interior paint, light fixtures, carpet, and tiling in the lobby. They have actually already begun the process with lighting and paint. I’ve heard rumors of new elevators in the future but that’s just word of mouth. No news on exterior changes though:(
That’s good news for the residents. They should have done that earlier. Thanks for the info. Hopefully, they might consider repainting the exterior as well.
First off long-term rentals are more intrusive to a condo complex than a vacation rental, because there is no moving furniture in and out dinging the walls blocking the elevators.
Vacation renters are usually older more established and not at all intrusive to the building and its’ permanent residents. They come in for a week or two and leave just as quietly as they came in. Owners at the Elecktra should be welcoming this because it makes the property enticing for investors. In a building as old as the Elecktra and the appreciation rate on the units it is not as palatable for first time homeowners in my opinion. So the Elecktra residents shouldn’t complain when their units are being bought by investors.
They’re not investors, they’re business people.
They aren’t buying the units as investment, they bought them to use as a steady source of income.
It’s the same thing as if you bought a 7-11 or a Subway franchise. Do you call those guys “investors”?
An investor is anyone who makes an “investment”. Putting your money into real estate to make a long term gain and/or a steady source of income qualifies as such.
Did you read the article in the Stranger that Wendy linked to? These “investors” are renting to convention-goers and partiers. There has been vomit in the halls!
Not surprising since short termers don’t have to deal with neighbors after they trash the building.
There are party goers in any condo complex, and it doesn’t mean that the people who are staying there short term are the ones vomiting in the halls! The price of a condo in the Elektra is affordable enough for the entry level renters and owners alike. It is the only affordable building in the City!! I don’t think a lot of pride goes into that building if there was the hod’s would be higher and they would be upgrading the lobby and hallways. The point is you want someone to be mad at and its because you live in a building that affords investors and young entry level home owners. Home owners try to find fault where there is no correlation. It’s just the building you live in…MOVE!!
I think any renters are bad news for condos. In my building, it’s almost always the renters who do crazy shite like stealing plants from common areas.
Tolstoy – you really should do some research before mouthing off. Your points definitely undermine those owners who live in the building as their primary residence…and more importantly…their HOME. Unless you live in the building, you have no true idea of what goes on and how much of a nuisance is created by the traffic that is created by the hotel transients. So, until you live in the building and TRULY understand the issues…you should keep your unfounded comments to yourself until you know ALL the facts.
Your post three times doesn’t change anyones view anymore than posting once
The facts are well documented especially since the building is getting the city involved which I believe is ridiculous! My point is that the building doesn’t do anything to up its’ image it is only blaming a small few for the problems that are inherent of who can afford to live in that building. I guarantee that if HOA dues were raised you would be bitching about that too. It’s a perception and whether you live there or not people know that the building is old and not taken care of…Blame the board for not wanting to upgrade that old building!!
Again Tolstoy – until you know ALL the facts…
Educate me on the facts
Are you a real estate agent Tolstoy…do you live in or own in the Elektra?
This has made for some interesting reading…also, interesting that Tolstoy has gone silent. Sounds as though he/she should see both sides of the story and not just from the investors perspective.
I am back! I still haven’t been educated from a facts point of view. I am willing to see both sides but there haven’t been many who can educate me other than by complaining about the issues that most condos go through. The fact that I have known is that the building is not taken care of and is evidently being destroyed by investors. If someone can do it without getting upset that would be great!
Tolstoy would ramble on and on in his descriptions of the wooden chairs, but he’d stay on point – he never jumped around in a schizo or ADD fit. It appears this post has multiple Tolstoy(s), seeing how you can sign in with any name…i.e., hijack a user-name to argue in favor of your position.
Here I am, one of the owners at the Elektra. I love it there but can only leave the east coast during a month of the summer to live in our Seattle home. Wish I were there now, and intend to be when we retire. In the meantime, we rent it out with a property manager who takes excellent care of it. In 5 years we’ve had no damage to our lovely furniture or condo, something rarely heard about any rental. No complaints about our renters, either! Our renters leave comments about loving the homey atmosphere and the amenities we provide. In addition, we put everything we make above the expenses back into improvements, because it’s our home.
When we’re there, the staff is wonderful, and there used to be a warm community feeling. Not now, but I do believe a change is coming, because there are a lot of good folks at the Elektra.
By the way, it was painted not so long ago. Don’t you like orange?
Let’s get one fact clear: IT IS ILLEGAL FOR THE HOTEL UNITS TO OPERATE IN THE ELEKTRA FOR LESS THAN 30 DAYS! After 30 days it becomes a “rental”. The city is allowing the hotel companies to honor exisiting reservations, which are coming to an end. The fact that these hotel units have knowingly operated illegally and greedily for years and are now, finally, being caught by the city zoning laws is WONDERFUL for the residents: the people who LIVE in the building! NO hotel owners/investors actually live at the Elektra and have to deal with their obnoxious guests.
The current board has a renovation under way, so kudos to them. It looks beautiful and appropriate.
Isn’t there supposed to be a follow-up story with The Stranger? Maybe I should contact all of the media and local housing groups to point out that these “investors” are stealing affordable housing from those who actually could use it.
Great Post, Tika –
Sorry you cannot afford more than one condo. That was your choice in life, to limit yourself to only be able to afford one residence. Why rage at others who have worked hard to achieve more success than you? Is it jealousy? I think it is.
It is NOT illegal. it is against zoning codes, but not illegal. And, there has been no zoning violation for several months. Yet, Tika and his cohorts cannot let go.
So sad to be so bitter and with so few options in life…..
This now makes sense. When “investors” buy multiple properties or units in a building and run them as businesses, they are taking away housing from others. Since the Elektra is an affordable housing option located downtown, I now see why the city and residents are so upset with the VRU people.
I suppose I could be in support of them if the building was zoned for it and there was a vru limit. In the original Notice Of Violation against the VRU people, I think it listed 35 with some people owning several. If it is true that none of the VRU owners live in the building, then they don’t know what it is like living with unknown people always coming and going.
I don’t think your comment makes “sense”. When someone buys multiple units in a building, they are not “taking away housing from others”. This is a free market society, and anyone with the financial success and fiscal responsibility to obtain a bank loan can buy a piece of property – or two. Therefore, there is no “taking away housing from others”. If those “others” can afford a condo, they can buy one. This is the key issue with Tika and a small handfull of his buddies. They are class-warriors who resent those who have more than they do. It is that simple. The incident Tika loves to refer to in the press of a disturbance he saw – – happened FOUR YEARS AGO!!!!! And he has NO PROOF it was a VRU guest. Yet, his fragile soul cannot shake this traumatic event. Poor, delicate, chinless baby…
Frankly, I don’t really believe his “incident” even happened.
Tika and his buddies also insist on calling them Hotel, when they are not hotel. They are VRU – a big difference those who are informed. And, it is not ILLEGAL – it is simply a zoning question. And, the city is currently reviewing their definitions and codes, etc., which proves even the City is not sure what is correct.
This will all shake out in the end, but it is unfortunate that Tika and his small pod of haters wish to make the business of a few homeowners their business, and that they wish to repeatedly slam the Elektra in the press. They want to take the whole building down, it seems.
I don’t know who Tika is but he is obviously bitter. He cannot and will not accept that other people make decisions in life whether they are for financial or for personal reasons. It is not illegal to rent nor is it illegal to have VRU’s. When and if that day comes who is going to regulate it and how? The biggest question is why would you want the City to step in and regulate. It sounds to me that the Elektra residents need to accept where they live. If you are so upset once again MOVE! If you’re lucky an investor would want to buy your unit.
Posted by: Elektra Resident | May 6, 2008 10:24:09 PM
Posted by: I HATE THE HOTEL UNITS | May 6, 2008 7:32:43 PM
The posts above are from the same people.
So, Tika Bordelon – are you now saying you’re in favor of VRUs – you slippery viper.
Blew your position in the first post by coming down midway attempting to support your position – it didn’t work, nice try.
Your little fragile and inept mind forgot your own position.
Are you that hard-up for support that you feel the need to log in with different names to support your position?
Whether you are in favor of one side or the other in this matter – please take this offline as this truly is an inappropriate forum for such. Thank you.
First the hotel owners try to control the board (Doug as president/Michelle as secretary. The two largest hotel companies at the Elektra) and they lost. Now they are trying to control this site! There are more hotel haters than not: we have you outnumbered and we have the city on our side. Please, just sell your hotel units and leave this building. You are not wanted here.
Hi Wendy, thanks for hosting this dialog between the residents and the illegal hotel companies at the Elektra. As you can see, they are very controlling and manipulative. If you have any other buildings with hotel unit problems, please direct them to this site and show them how disruptive illegal activity can be. The hotel companies are bullies and disrupt our board meeting. They lie and spread false accusations about our board and residents. They took control of our key/lock box that was intended for real estate agents and give the code to their clients online so they can check themsleves in. What this does is give the impression that we have many more units available for sale than we do, thereby lowering our prices. Our credit reports show that we live in a “mixed use” building because the hotel units also operate here, thereby lowering our credit scores. It is unfortunate but now with the help of the city, we’re finally removing this criminal activity once and for all. what a RELIEF!
What is the matter with you people?!?!? You are all acting like a bunch of children with your snide comments and remarks. Maybe everyone should start acting their age or like REAL adults and stop posting these childish comments for all the world to see. If everyone is so worried about the image of our building, then maybe you should STOP blabbing building business all over the internet!
I have read all of the posting here, I am not surprised.
1 )The declaration states that there is a three night minimum for rental units. Every owner purchased this at signing, with a full understanding of this.
2) There has been no complaints of vomitting, people passing out, and other accusations made to the Stranger; and who are the strange people that is mentioned in the article?
3) The VRU’s have been a part of the building since it was converted with eveyones knowledge and approval.
4) out of 200 units only a handful people made complaints to the city, four of which are on the board.
5) This issue is between the VRU owners and the City.
6) There are wonderful people who live in the Elektra and if buyers want a good deal “This is there one chance”.
7) The City of Seattle was provided an interpretation of their opinion on this matter by a low level DPD official, which is now in appeal.
8) While the city makes there interpretation of the zonning definition the VRU’s are not illegal.
9) If there was illegal activity, people would be in jail by now.
10) I respect all opinions.
Fellow VRU Owners and Opponents – please stop the prattling (meaningless babble). There is no need to continue this nonsense publicly.
The fact is we all have one thing in common in our gem – The Elektra.
The City’s Ruling will be in a few weeks – let’s stop damaging the image of our building.
I can only speak for myself, but I plan to continue to follow the law and will respect and follow the City’s pending decision – no matter the outcome.
I’ve read through the comments and find it to be a cowardice to slam each other and our building publicly without naming yourself.
For this reason, my name is listed.
If you’d like to discuss my post, I’m up for meeting in person. Posting your boorish comments on this silly site without naming yourself isn’t only damaging our building image – these are acts of petulant children.
The Elektra is a wonderful building – let’s stop this vitriolic nonsense.
if the place isn’t a hotel, why is it being advertised on trip advisor as being one?
Someone on there has already posted a negative review. I would suggest you all do the same so hopefully possible guests will not want to stay there.
Wendy please remove this post, the majority of the posts appear to be coming from Tika Bordeleon (board member)at the Elektra. He has many issues and one of them is not intelligence. He fails to realize the damage he is causing our building and to all of our property values. I beg you to remove this blog. It is not as active as it appears because it is mostly the one person. If you refuse I will see if I may take this further with your broker or the MLS.
Thank you for your consideration.
In keeping with the openeness of the blogosphere, I’m gonna have to decline the requests to remove the post or delete its associated comments.
Nevertheless, since all sides of this discussion have clearly made their points and the general tone of the comments (from both sides) is starting to get repetitive and a bit more heated, I’m closing off this post to future comments.
Thanks to everyone for sharing their perspectives.