Renters are gaining the upper hand in Burien

Oct 28, 2022, 2:36 PM
Burien, housing...
Burien housing (City of Burien, Facebook)
(City of Burien, Facebook)

Renters in Burien are gaining ground and both Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin, hosts of the Gee and Ursula Show, have mixed feelings about it.

The Burien City Council added some new rental housing protections recently, with new rules tightening safeguards for renters so they can’t get evicted without reason. The council also requires 120 days’ notice for rent hikes over 3% and 180 days for increases over 10%.

Late fees are capped at $10 and a Social Security Number is no longer required to apply for a rental home.

“Yeah, that’s a problem. It’s almost the equivalent of going to a car dealership and you wanting to test drive the vehicle,” Gee claimed. “And you make a rule that says you don’t have to show your license and your proof of insurance. We can’t do that.”

Chef, producer of the Gee and Ursula Show, aligned with Gee. “The social security number thing is ridiculous.”

Ursula agreed, and she also had an issue with the eviction moratorium that is still in effect.

“My fear is that what happens in Seattle is going to happen to Burien as well.”

Burien is the last city in the state of Washington to have an eviction moratorium, which is to be lifted Oct. 31.

“This means folks can’t get kicked out?” Gee asked. “In a black neighborhood, this is endearing. You lying?”

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Ursula said there’s another side to this issue.

“When you look at what other cities have done, including Seattle, the rules have actually shrunk the rental market. Those smaller landlords say, ‘Why would I want to do this if I have all these restrictions now?'”

Ursula also voiced her concern that the rules have the opposite effect of what was intended.

“You’re actually going to potentially increase rents. If you look at other big cities, San Francisco and LA,  they require 90 days’ notice for rental increases of 10% or more. Portland requires 90 days’ notice,” Ursula said. “So with Burien, when you’re talking about 180 days notice or 120 days notice, that’s going way beyond what even these other cities are offering.”

The trio all agreed that capping a late fee at $10 was reasonable.

Another issue they tackled was the idea that a move-in fee could be paid over time instead of all at once.

Gee liked that because it would force people to work together to find a solution.

“Because you wouldn’t normally have $4,000 to 5,000 just chilling to get in,” Gee said. “As a matter of fact, everything I did in my life was kind of making payments on bills.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Renters are gaining the upper hand in Burien