KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Lynnwood council pres.: Bill that limits rent increases should be passed

Feb 20, 2024, 2:15 PM | Updated: 2:42 pm

Manufactured homes...

A line of manufactured homes. (AP Photo/Lauren Petracca)

(AP Photo/Lauren Petracca)

On February 13, the State House of Representatives passed HB 2114. This is the bill that limits annual rent increases to 7% and restricts other fees. It is now up to the State Senate to vote on it.

A guest commentator on this show spoke against this bill and complained, among other things, that tenants were looking for a free lunch.

The ongoing conversation regarding the pros and cons of HB 2114 has centered on tenants who live in apartment buildings are single family homes.

I want to focus on the crisis occurring for the tenants living in our local manufactured home parks.

The residents of these parks usually own the manufactured homes they live in, but rent the ground that their homes sit on. None of these homes are mobile, and even if they were, there’s no place to move to.

Many manufactured home parks provide a lower-cost place to live and retire. But this source of low-income housing is now disappearing.

Since 2022, corporate investor companies have been actively purchasing manufactured home parks throughout the state.

The typical scenario is once these corporations buy a park, the rent for the spaces the home sits on is immediately increased.

These tenants are not looking for a free lunch.

The residents of Lakewood Villa in Kenmore were assessed varying rent increases, starting at 10% and going up to 20%.

In 2023, after the park was sold, the 150 homeowners and Canyon Park were assessed a 16% increase in 2023 that occurred after the sale of the park. The residents had now been told to expect a 30% rent increase in 2024. That is a 46% increase in rent.

Related story: Wash. House passes bill that limits rent increases to 7% annually

Do any of these increases sound like some sort of free lunch?

A resident of Fairway Estates in Everett sent a text last Tuesday letting me know that on August 1, the rent for her space will go from $829 to $1,550.

None of these tenants are asking for a free lunch. What they want is to be free from the fear of economic eviction.

They are not bad tenants, but they are on fixed incomes. And for many, the choice is now between rent, food, or medical care.

This is why the state legislature must pass HB 2114. The bill provides necessary protections for all struggling tenants, especially those living in our manufactured home parks.

This is a guest commentary on Seattle’s Morning News which airs Monday-Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio.

George Hurst is the president of the city council in Lynwood.

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Lynnwood council pres.: Bill that limits rent increases should be passed