The pro-renter agenda of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant was dealt a setback Monday when the City Council voted to send her bill capping move-in fees back to committee for further refinement.
“You can not tell struggling renters they have to wait” because you need more meetings, the D3 rep said prior to Monday’s 7-2 vote to refer the bill back to Sawant’s energy committee where it had previously passed in September. Council member Mike O’Brien sided with Sawant saying there had been sufficient discussion of the bill that would restrict landlords to charging tenants the first full month’s rent upon move-in and would allow tenants to pay the security deposit, non-refundable move-in fees, and last month’s rent in installments.
Despite the committee’s approval of the bill last month, District 5 representative Debora Juarez came to chambers prior to a full council vote on the measure with a proposal to kick the bill back, citing concerns from the city departments that would need to enforce the restrictions. A sufficient majority of the council agreed with most pledging support for the spirit of the bill and its planned January 1st, 2017 implementation. Council president Bruce Harrell pledged that Sawant’s committee would be given a time to meet despite the busy upcoming budget schedule before December 13th so that the bill could be in place in time for the New Year.
Before the vote, Sawant said the move to stop the bill in its tracks was an example of the way the City Council works against its citizenry. “Jam it up as much as possible,” she said of her colleagues’ response to progressive legislation, but “ram the process through” for the police and business interests.
Tuesday night, Sawant will host her annual People’s Budget Town Hall for “activists, human service providers, and community members” to “organize and fight for a budget that meets the needs of ordinary people in Seattle.” CHS examined the mayor’s proposed budget from a Capitol Hill point of view, here.