Multiple rent stabilization bills aim to control extreme increases

Jan 27, 2023, 2:24 PM
landlords rent...
Apartment complexes in downtown Seattle (Nicola via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Nicola via Flickr Creative Commons)

Two proposals are on the floor of the state Legislature that looks to impose some limits on ever-increasing rent prices, which some lawmakers say are contributing to rising homelessness rates.

The proposals, HB 1389 and SB 5435, impose caps on rent increases, preventing landlords in the state from raising rent more than the rate of inflation in most cases.

Study: Renters need to work longer hours to afford rent

The landlord may not increase rent more than the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index of 3%, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of 7% above the existing rent. There are exceptions for buildings less than 10 years old, public housing, improvements beyond maintenance, and a hardship exemption.

In a 2020 study, researchers at the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that for every $100 in rent increase leads to a 9% hike in homelessness, which becomes even worse when racial disparities are factored in.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Alex Ramel (D-40th District), explained why he thought that this kind of legislation was so important, telling the story of a constituent struggling to live in the community.

“I’m confident that you heard from folks who are experiencing double-digit rent increases year over year and what that’s doing to their lives. For myself, I made the decision to introduce legislation like this while standing on the doorstep of a young man in Bellingham,” Ramel said. “He’s a recent graduate from Western Washington University and just got a new job. And he was leaving our community. He was packing to go, and I knocked on his door because his landlord had just notified him that his rent was going to go up by $600 a month.”

Rental Housing Association of Washington opposes the legislation saying that the policy won’t actually solve rental prices and will instead punish small landlords and allow wealthy renters easy access to cheap housing.

“The rent control policy has failed everywhere it has been enacted in this county. It has not fixed one housing problem anywhere. It also does not distinguish between rich and poor when determining who gets the benefits of rent control,” said Chester Baldwin with the Rental Housing Coalition.


Local News

(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Theresa Robinson, KIRO 7 News

Hundreds participate in Seattle Big Climb to raise money for blood cancer research

1,300 people climbed up Columbia Center’s 69 stories on Sunday to raise money for cancer research.
1 day ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Lauren Donovan, KIRO 7 News

‘They don’t care about our safety:’ Kentucky Amazon workers fly to Seattle to protest

Kentucky Amazon workers determined to unionize flew into Seattle for a protest outside The Spheres in South Lake Union.
1 day ago
Lakewood Police...
Lisa Brooks

Suspect arrested after infant grazed by bullet in Lakewood

An infant was grazed by a bullet and hit by broken glass after a shooting Friday night in Lakewood. There is no information on a suspect.
1 day ago
Dan Rocha...
Gwen Baumgardner, KIRO 7 News

Community honors fallen Everett police officer Dan Rocha one year after line-of-duty death

Online tributes continue to pour in on the one-year anniversary after the death of Everett police officer Dan Rocha.
2 days ago
Tacoma homicide...
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Homicide detectives investigating after man found dead in Tacoma

Homicide detectives are investigating after a man's body was found dead Saturday morning along South Tacoma Way.
2 days ago
March Madness...
Nate Connors

Weekend Traffic Report: NCAA March Madness comes to town

NCAA Women's Basketball is heading to Climate Pledge Arena Friday through Monday. Friday's game starts at 4:30 p.m.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Multiple rent stabilization bills aim to control extreme increases