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Sawant renews push for rent control in Seattle

Councilmember Kshama Sawant continues her push for rent control. (City of Seattle)

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant unveiled plans Monday for a pair of ordinances to protect renters, including one to enact rent control in Seattle.

RELATED: State lawmakers pass bill preventing mid-lease rent hikes
RELATED: Legislature considers abolishing rent control law

Sawant introduced the measures as part of a Monday morning press conference, joined by a cadre of tenant rights advocates, faith leaders, and more.

The first of the ordinances would enact “comprehensive, citywide rent control … without corporate loopholes,” that would take effect if the Legislature lifts its statewide ban on rent regulation.

The second would look to establish protections for tenants against major rent increases.

Sawant has long pushed for rent control in Seattle, having put her support behind rent control legislation in Olympia that failed to pass early in 2018.

Rent control has been illegal statewide since 1981, with opponents citing it as a factor in reducing housing supply, and driving up costs in the wake of fewer options for prospective renters.

At Monday’s press conference, Sawant announced a plan to “mount an all-out, citywide campaign to pass rent control in Seattle,” and to push for the state Legislature to overturn what she labels an “undemocratic” ban on rent control.

In February, Oregon became the first in the U.S. to enact statewide rent control.

The Washington State Legislature recently passed its own bill designed to protect renters, requiring landlords to provide 60-day notice for any increases between leases, and banning mid-lease rent hikes.

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