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Sketched June 28, 2017

Three roommates sharing a meal at their home.

There’s nothing unusual about that, except Bryce Richards — one of the three young guys I met in this West Seattle townhouse the other day — is the landlord. The other two, Matt Pasik and Michael Cullen, rent rooms for $850 each in Richards’ home.

And you may ask, how did a 30-year-old become a live-in landlord? It has something to do with Seattle’s increasingly unaffordable rental market.

Richards, a senior project manager at an engineering firm in SODO, relocated from the Tri-Cities to Seattle in December of 2015. He first shared a $2,100-a-month, two-bedroom with his sister in beautiful Queen Anne, but it didn’t take long for the local rental market to show its ugly side. When the landlord announced a $600 increase was coming, Richards decided it was time to break the piggy bank and try to buy a house, even if that meant subletting rooms in order to afford the mortgage.

“I thought, I gotta jump in and buy, otherwise I’m going to get priced out,” Richards said.

After months searching from Beacon Hill to Shoreline and elsewhere, Richards found a property he could afford, not too far from his  job in SODO: A $380,000 townhouse in the Delridge area of West Seattle.

Finding tenants to rent two of the four bedrooms in the three-story home wasn’t hard. Pasik, a manufacturing engineer at Boeing, signed a one-year lease last August. “I got extremely lucky,” he said.

Cullen, a systems engineer at Dell, also considered himself lucky after he moved in. This is the third place he has rented since arriving in Seattle last September.

Judging by the camaraderie I witnessed over dinner, I’d say this living arrangement seems to be working well for everyone involved.

My visit to Richards’ home was prompted by his reply to my recent post about a couple of millennials giving up their “dream” of living downtown. If you’d like to share your own experience of renting in Seattle, email me at