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Housing: Keep pressing for rent stabilization




Re: “WA efforts to cap rent hikes, give tenants more notice fail in Olympia” [March 9, Local News]:

Though the rental-investor industry defeated rent stabilization in Olympia in this session, Washingtonians will continue to press for it. The consequences of not passing it are clear. Renters will continue to become displaced. Businesses will continue to lose employees who move and lose sales as property investors soak up renters’ spendable income. Kids will continue to move from school to school. More tents will line our sidewalks.

Nearly 40% of Washingtonians rent. Under the modest compromise bill that will again be considered in Olympia, property investors can set the rent at any price before and after a renter takes residence. During a tenancy, they can raise the rent up to the cost of living, with a 7% limit. And they get exemptions for major repairs, for new construction and for buildings under 12 years old. Most property costs are fixed: a long-term mortgage. The expenses that increase (taxes and repairs) are a small proportion.

Rent stabilization isn’t the only solution to our housing crisis but it’s the most impactful way to stabilize our communities. Until legislation is passed, property investors will continue to levy astronomical rent increases. Renters, neighborhoods, schools and businesses will continue to pay the price.

Kraig Peck, Woodinville

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