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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.

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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