Seattle, Washington Bed & Breakfast

McAfertys v. City of Seattle
Challenging Seattle's Irrational Bed & Breakfast Regulations


Institute for Justice Washington Chapter clients Blayne and Julie McAferty

On March 1, 2005, the Institute for Justice Washington Chapter filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle to vindicate the right of Blayne and Julie McAferty to lawfully pursue their chosen livelihood as innkeepers.  In 2004, the McAfertys had opened their Greenlake Guesthouse in accordance with Seattle’s bed-and-breakfast law.  But a few months later, at the behest of a handful of individuals who wanted bed and breakfasts banned from the neighborhood, the City adopted a new and illogical interpretation of that law and ordered the McAfertys to shut down.  Their offense?  Before opening, the McAfertys had added, with City approval, two window dormers to their home.  According to the City’s after-the-fact interpretation, those dormers were actually illegal “exterior structural alterations” because they had been “made to accommodate [a] bed and breakfast.” 

Represented by IJ-WA, the McAfertys sued the City to vindicate their right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government interference.  They prevailed when, on August 14, 2006, the City repealed the arbitrary “exterior structural alteration” ban and subsequently dismissed the citation it had issued against the McAfertys.

Essential Background


Backgrounder: No Room at the Inn—Challenging Seattle's Irrational Bed & Breakfast Regulations

Client Photo

Client Video - none available

Latest Release: Seattle B&B Can Remain Open for Business (February 27, 2007)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

none available

Launch Release: Bed, Breakfast & Bureaucracy: How Seattle Quashes New B&Bs (March 1, 2005)


Case Timeline

none available


Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Seattle City Council Passes Legislation to Promote Bed and Breakfasts; Bill Fosters Economic Opportunity, City Neighborhoods (August 8, 2006)

Chart: Bed & Breakfasts In The Seattle Region

Download: Entrepreneurship in The Emerald City-Study Spotlights Ridiculous Regulations That Hamper Seattle Entrepreneurs






Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: B&B Victory, Liberty & Law (October, 2006)



Op-ed: City should make it easier to open a bed-and-breakfast Seattle Times (June 14, 2006)



Article: New rules proposed for B&Bs in homes Seattle Times (June 13, 2006)

Article: No Room at the Inn For Big Government, Liberty & Law (April 2005)

Article: What kind of law lets your neighbor shut you down? Seattle Times (March 9, 2005)

Op-ed: There's no room at the inn for government nonsense Seattle Times (March 3, 2005)

Article: Green Lake B&B sparks an outcry KING-TV (March 1, 2005)

Article: Seattle agency orders B&B shut by end of March Seattle Times (February 16, 2005)

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