Public can offer feedback over repeal on state rent control ban
SEATTLE - A new approach is taking shape to confront runaway housing costs as several state lawmakers try to end the ban on rent control.
Some tenants said they are being priced-out by regular rent increases. However, landlords counter that rent regulation is a failed policy and will be a disaster if imposed statewide. Both sides will be testifying at a public hearing in Olympia on Tuesday.
“This is the first time that we've seen rent control as a real threat to the housing industry,” said Sean Martin, the interim executive director of the Rental Housing Association of Washington.
RHAWA advocates for landlords, and has hired shuttle buses to carry speakers to Olympia to testify against HB 2583, a new bill to repeal a statewide ban on rent regulation.
Martin said rent control has been imposed in other parts of the country and actually drove-up housing costs as well as creating a disincentive for developers to build new housing.
Renters like Alex Bacon believe a cap on housing costs would only help his growing family. Bacon serves as the president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, and pointed out that the legislation would not enact rent control - but simply give local jurisdictions the flexibility to draw-up their own regulatory measures.
“It gives cities the freedom to kind of look at all their different options and find local solutions to the housing crisis,” Bacon said.
Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, who is sponsoring HB 2583, is also working on other legislation with an aim at helping renters.
Macri also introduced HB 2804, which would make evictions more difficult. Foremost, no-cause evictions would be outlawed. Renters would also be able to contest an eviction in court.