Rep for landlords says Seattle needs to focus on ‘real solutions’ to fix housing crisis

Sep 28, 2021, 5:23 AM
segregation, homeless affordable housing, apartments, housing...
(File, Associated Press)
(File, Associated Press)

With eviction moratoriums being extended in Seattle and more housing bills approved by the city council, the Tom & Curley Show reached out to Brett Waller for details. Waller represents landlords and is the director of government affairs for the Washington Multifamily Housing Association.

How Seattle’s extended eviction moratorium may leave small landlords behind

Host John Curley asked Waller what recent bills he’s looking at or worried about from the city council.

“Where do I start?,” Waller replied. “The most recent bill that they passed was the school year eviction ban that applies to any individual who has a child in school, or a person who works for the school district or for a school — primary K-12 type school. That passed, and they just prevented evictions without any compensation, not providing any rental assistance or the opportunity to access rental assistance to really fix the problem that exists when you have a non payment of rent situation.”

Waller says with $2,000 in rental assistance, a tenancy can be whole and stable for over a year, on average.

“We just really need to focus on rental assistance,” he said. “… Just getting that $2,000 in cash, on average will keep a family stable for 95% of the time over a year period of time.”

That said, revenue can be an issue, Waller admits.

“I think we are a sympathetic villain, [that] may be the best term out there,” Waller said. “There’s a lot of focus on landlords and housing right now and that’s why the council has returned with two more bills that will be up on Monday about rent increases that make it just more challenging to operate rental housing in the city of Seattle.”

As for those two bills, one requires at least six months notice for a rent increase. The second requires the landlord to pay relocation assistance to the tenants if the rent is increased by more than 10% and the tenant moves out. Both were passed by the Seattle City Council on Monday.

“The city is requiring the landlord to pay that money,” Waller said about the second bill. “So it’s really a tax or a fee on the landlord to operate their business and to cover their operating expenses.”

Waller pointed out that on average, 10 cents of every dollar paid in rent goes to the pocket of the landlord, while 90 cents of every dollar goes toward the operating costs of the property.

“When you look at a property, you have to estimate what the taxes are going to be for next year,” he said. “There’s an incredible shortage of labor right now in the rental property market. And so wages are very competitive and that’s making it very difficult for affordable housing providers particularly to keep up with the market conditions with the inability to raise rent, and the challenges around raising rent in affordable communities to maintain the competitiveness of employee wages, and also the maintenance of communities.”

Down the road, landlords will continue to look for ways to mitigate their risk.

“They look at their screening criteria, they sell their property to get out of the market, and that becomes a homeowner type of a property, and they just do other things,” Waller said. “Everything that the city council has done, arguably, has not stabilized the housing market in the city of Seattle, it’s only made it worse.”

“So what we need to do is really focus on real solutions to fix Seattle’s housing crisis,” he added.

Listen to the Tom and Curley Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker

MyNorthwest Staff

Alaska Airlines CEO anticipates ‘choppy May,’ issues mea culpa as flight cancellations rack up

Alaska Airlines is facing issues with contracting and a shortage of pilots, leaving travelers to deal with a surplus of flight cancellations.
2 days ago
Pramila Jayapal...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John and Shari: Political pressure to forgive student loan debt is well-timed ahead of mid-term elections

President Joe Biden and Congress’ plan for student loan debt remains an outstanding question as Democrats look towards the midterm elections.
28 days ago
diner, tip...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John & Shari: Inflation has forced some people to adjust their tipping habits

Inflation is driving up prices lately on nearly everything, and it seems to be leading some people to tip less at restaurants and for other services.
2 months ago
John Curley, Shari Elliker...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John Curley and Shari Elliker want story ideas from listeners

John Curley and Shari Elliker are looking for story ideas and could use your help. If it's good, you may even get a gift from John of his choosing.
2 months ago
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John & Shari: Seattle teachers can keep masking if they’re concerned about safety

In a change of plans, and against the union's wishes, masks will soon be optional for all teachers, staff, and students at Seattle schools.
2 months ago
Russell Wilson...
John Curley and Shari Elliker

John & Shari: If Russell Wilson leaves Seattle, his home could be on the market

While everyone else is thinking about the football impacts of Russell Wilson leaving Seattle, John Curley is thinking about what will happen to his home.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Rep for landlords says Seattle needs to focus on ‘real solutions’ to fix housing crisis