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Washington State Rent Control

The 2024 state legislature is about to convene and action has started on bills previously mentioned here: Reconsider Tenant Protections 

Specifically, there is a hearing on SB 5961 on Friday, Jan 12 and any comments are due the day before.  Citizens can register as Pro or Con using the form found here: Committee Sign In – Legislative Record  The form appears to be registration to testify but at the top says: “Complete the fields below and press submit to state your position on a bill without testifying.”

Key Provisions of SB 5961

The primary provision of SB 5961 is the limitation on rent increases for residences, including manufactured home spaces, more than 10 years old to no more than 5% annually. But the official summary also includes:  “limiting fees and deposits, establishing a landlord resource center and associated services, authorizing tenant lease termination, creating parity between lease types, and providing for attorney general enforcement.”

The full bill can read here:  SB 5961 and tracked here: SB 5961 here: Tracking

Jan 13 Update: The bill is now in the Senate Housing Committee.

Rationale Behind Rent Control

The primary motivation behind rent control legislation, such as SB 5961, is to address the affordability crisis faced by many tenants. Rising rental prices have outpaced wage growth in many areas, making it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to secure affordable housing. Rent control measures aim to provide stability, prevent excessive rent increases, and protect vulnerable tenants from being priced out of their homes.

Proponents of rent control argue that it helps to create more predictable housing costs, allowing tenants to budget and plan for their future. It also serves as a tool to combat gentrification and displacement, helping long-term residents continue to reside in their communities despite rising property values.

Concerns and Criticisms

While rent control may seem like a straightforward solution to the affordable housing crisis, it is not without its critics. Opponents argue that rent control can have unintended consequences, such as discouraging new construction and reducing the overall housing supply. They argue that limiting rent increases may disincentivize landlords from maintaining and improving their properties, leading to a decline in rental housing quality.

Another concern is the potential administrative burden that comes with implementing rent control measures. Critics of SB 5961 express reservations about the creation of additional bureaucracy and the potential for increased costs that could ultimately be passed on to tenants. 

Alternatives

Alternative solutions, such as increasing the supply of affordable housing through incentives for developers or providing rental assistance programs, should also be explored. These approaches can help alleviate the affordability crisis without the potential negative impacts associated with rent control.

5 thoughts on “Washington State Rent Control

  • Andi j creed

    I have been here 13 months and have experienced two rent increases since I made my offer. $1050 to $1200! I’m on social security and will soon be priced out of my new home which I paid cash for. I’m a seriously and chronically ill person and require in home care weekly. My husband is recovering from chemo and cancer surgery. We moved here thinking it would be our forever home. I pray it will be. But rent increases of $100 to $200 every year will put that in jeopardy for sure! Something must be done to protect affordable housing for all but particularly for the vulnerable. Not to much to ask.

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  • Eugenia Stacy

    I am a single person with only 1 income with a limited income. I am not in the best of health already having faced cancer twice. I have no money for food by the time I pay increased rent of over $400 in my residence time in this manufactured home 55 and older park. I do not believe that senior citizens should face increased rent at all. Our income does not keep up with inflation at all.

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  • Kimberly Johnson

    We have lived here about 5 years. Our rent started at $650.00 now it’s $1200.00 -er month. We are on a fixed income and struggling every month. Additionally we had a water leak in our driveway that after talking to the landlord that stated it was their responsibility they made us pay for it. We now have another leak in our driveway. We need an attorney. Rent increases are ridiculously high.

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  • L.Boling

    We have lived in the same mobile home park for 13 years. Our park was purchased by Urban Lifestyle10 LLC 3 years ago. Our rent was increased by 72%. We are now charged $50 mo thly for well water. Our manager lives in another state. She lies continually.
    They will not up keep the road or empty trailers. It is so unkept. The account our deposit money is supposed to be kept in and availabke for tenants to verfy our funds are dtill ther is denied to us. Upon an extenant who recieved a partial payment for refund of deposit, the check bounced snd the ma ager stated that it bounced because the owners were in the middle of refinancing the park and all of their money was tied up in the refinancing process. Thats illegal. We can not get an owner to answer a phone call let alone return one. Our leases were written ip according to Colorado state lawnot Washington state law. We are just tossed to the bottom as the rich get richer off the backs of the poor. Zero accountability for lanlords and their management.

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