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Legislation to end state ban on rent control off the table in Olympia

Capitol Hill’s state Rep. Nicole Macri won’t be able to deliver an end to Washington’s ban on rent control this year. Her legislation to repeal the ban on rent regulation in the state died in committee last week in Olympia.

The 43rd District representative didn’t address the defeat in her most recent update to constituents but she did count down some of the legislation she has sponsored aimed “keep people in their homes” including HB 1570, a bill to make a state real estate transaction fee permanent “to fund crucial housing services like emergency, DV, youth and young adult shelters; eviction prevention, move-in assistance and allows rental vouchers to be used in both for-profit and nonprofit homes.”

As for rent control, in 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution calling for the statute to be changed and arguing municipalities should have the power to pass laws that “increase the supply of rent-restricted units and that protect tenants from sudden and dramatic rent increases, without causing a negative impact on the quality or quantity of housing supply.” Seattle Met’s Hayat Norimine reports that, despite the setback, city officials are optimistic the mood might be shifting in Olympia.

You can hear more from Macri plus her counterparts Rep. Frank Chopp and Sen. Jamie Pedersen at the 2018 43rd District Town Hall:

43rd Legislative District town hall


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6 thoughts on “Legislation to end state ban on rent control off the table in Olympia

  1. Don’t know whether to be happy or sad…. as it hasn’t worked anywhere in the US that it’s been implemented and has been shown to actually slow down and discourage developer driven growth, I suppose I should actually desire, in a twisted way, to see it passed…..

  2. My economics days are long past, and I realize that economic models aren’t perfect, but it seemed like there was a lot of agreement that rent control ended up hurting renters. I clearly need to read up on the arguments on both sides. (I’m going to leave “on both sides” there – impossible to use that phrase now without thinking about 45’s terrible use of it. On a lighter note – you can lay all the economists in the world in a row head to toe head to toe, and they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion.)

    • One could also come to the conclusion that the current situation is hurting renters too (paying more than 1/3 of income towards rent). The solution probably lies somewhere in between, but neither landlords nor tenant rights group are willing to meet in the middle. Of course, landlords have no reason to want to negotiate either.

  3. “The solution probably lies somewhere in between” – I think in general these days we could use more of that thinking. (I should quickly caveat that with “but not always” before I get rightfully ejected from the CHS blog. People have managed to preserve some terrible policies through compromise.)

  4. The solution is happening – rents are coming down, though with a 17% increase in property taxes I imagine that will impact things upwards. The problem is in the mirror. There is no human right to live in Seattle, or the region for that matter. I recall the days of incentives and free rent to move in, about 9 years ago – in recent memory. If 10% of those who complain, packed up and left, landlords would scramble to fill their units and rents would come down. Omaha, Detroit, Cleveland, Dallas, and even Tacoma and Bremerton await you. There is absolutely zero reason for a landlord to reduce rent for someone, anymore than you should expect to be paid less for your labor than the market can bear because a prospective employer can’t afford your value.