District 3 representative Kshama Sawant is rallying the troops Monday afternoon to celebrate what should be City Council approval of a new Seattle “slumlord” law that will stop landlords from jacking up rents in poorly maintained buildings while also protecting tenants from surprise rent increases. The City Hall scrapper is calling for support of what she says is a key amendment passed out of committee but still vulnerable in Monday’s final vote:
An amendment was also passed to strengthen the bill by giving tenants more time to report violations, but it wasn’t unanimous. So we need to turn out and defend it. By speaking out and showing up, you can help ensure that we have the strongest ordinance possible.
UPDATE: The City Council passed the bill in an 8-0 vote on Monday. “We will use it to organize for a far larger tenants bill of rights,” Sawant said.
The new rules will restrict landlords from raising rents in properties that don’t meet required standards and will transfer enforcement from Seattle Police to the Department of Construction and Inspections. The rules would also require landlords provide at least 60-day notice on rent increases of 10% or more. The bill is sponsored by Sawant and is her first legislation in 2016 outside the Energy and Environment committee she chairs.
Sawant’s office says more pro-tenant legislation is moving forward including a bill “to massively expand relocation assistance for tenants forcibly evicted by dramatic rent increases” and a bill to cap “the exorbitant move-in fees that are found all over this city.” “Tenant protection laws are effective only to the extent that tenants are informed of their rights, are aware of their legal options, and are able to report violations,” a Sawant statement on the legislation reads. “We need to organize.”
Meanwhile, Wednesday night will bring a meeting of the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative:
Capitol Hill Renter Initiative June Meeting
Wednesday at 6 PM – 7 PM
12th Avenue Arts 1620 12th Ave, Seattle
We have a very special guest this month. Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez will be joining us! This is a rare opportunity to have a Councilmember in a small room. Bring your questions and thoughts you’d like to share with her. We’ll be ordering food. RSVP here to let us know if you are coming so we can get an accurate head count. See you there!
6pm – Welcome and Introductions
6:15pm – Conversation with Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
6:35pm – Updates, Announcements, Next Steps (think about any information you want to share with the group)
6:45pm – Social Activity
7pm – End of Formal Meeting
7-7:30pm – We’ll stick around if folks want to hang out and/or work on special projects
You can learn more about the initiative in this CHS Community Post.