Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata Want the City Council to Be On Record Against the State's Rent Control Ban

Comments

1
It's about time.

Gay marriage was illegal. Weed was illegal. Just throwing up your hands becuase there's an unjust law in the way of positive change is a cowards excuse.

We need rent controls.

2
If the only people who can afford to live in Seattle are those who work for Amazon, they should consider who will bother running all the services in the city. I make $15/hr and it's hard to find someplace affordable and halfway decent. I can't even imagine the living conditions that are available to those on minimum wage.
3
I want Kshama and Nick to be on the recordabout who they nominated/promoted for the short list to replace Clark.
4
Yes, if you insist on Capitol Hill or Green Lake or Fremont it's going to cost you dearly. But the south end and on down to Tukwila still has plenty of affordable housing without rent control, and has access to light rail. And there are some very cool, diverse neighborhoods.
5
Rent contracts should be as I had/have in Germany. Rent increases are spelled out in your lease, for the next 10 years. Goes up 2 or 3 percent every two years. Taxes and expenses are separate, so the landlord is not exposed to those 'surprises'.

This kind of rent moderation makes sense. NYC-style rent control is total bullshit.
6
Price controls will just create a shadow market. Depending on the structure, there may be some winning tenants who get in on the ground floor of price controls. Yay for them, more problems for everyone else. This is the Lesser Seattle folks who rent, combined with Sawant, who throws out every lefty premise to continue to pander to her constituency.
7
Looking forward to voting for Lisa Herbold to represent my District #1
If she wins, West Seattle (and South Park) will have one the strongest, most progressive and experienced voices on the council.
8
So what they're seeking is yet another official writ of "We're [officially] against Olympia"? Why not get the overworked law clerks in city hall to draft an official declaration for once and for all: Whatever it is, we're against it. I'm quite sure, with Olympia as the reference point, we can all get behind that.
9
@6 -- I agree completely. Rent control won't work -- it will provide cheaper housing for only a handful of well connected renters. But the fight for rent control pleases people like Sawant. Now she can point fingers at the state legislature and greedy landlords. She can suggest that it is the only solution, and never be proved wrong, since it is will ever happen (here). You might as well attack the Trilateral Commission and blame them for everything.

It would all be rather funny and stupid if it wasn't for the fact that there are real things that we can do to reduce the cost of rent. Most of these require trade-offs (like less parking). Other cities (like Vancouver BC and Portland OR) for example, have a lot fewer restrictions when it comes to building backyard cottages or basement apartments (http://daily.sightline.org/2013/03/15/ad…).

But maybe it is a lot easier for some politicians to demonize groups of people rather than changing the laws so that something actually gets done. Absolutely pointless, but easy.
10
I like the spirit of what she's trying to accomplish - stemming rent increase is a fantastic goal. I also like rent subsidy programs. I'm just concerned about the implementation of rent control. It has this habit of solving a problem now but making it way worse in the future unless the city has a recession. I don't like the idea of short selling livable space on the assumption that we'll either figure something out later, or the market will come in to match.

A finite period with a return to market rate would be interesting, but would also eventually screw the tenants unless the capacity increases. What I would like would be subsidized rent paid for with property tax - that way the city can see exactly how much tax revenue it's losing and how much it needs to change zoning to improve its own bottom line.

Enacting SF-style capped-with-predictably increase will give us the same problem they have: if the city housing market doesn't collapse you have underwater units that landlords would rather evict or abandon than manage and a bigger problem later, with less time to fix it.
11
@6 - Normally you'd wait until a policy was detailed and written before you'd criticize is, don't you think? And if you are going to rag on the policy you've invented, shouldn't you at least specify what you mean by "work" in the phrase "rent control won't work"?
12
Rent control: Proven just as effective as trickle-down economics.
13
Rent control has been shown to be a joke in both NYC and SF. It is like winning the lottery for the few that get it and can hold on to it and it makes life really unbearable for anyone new who ends up being stuck fighting over the rest of the available units. There is no right to live anywhere, and if the Amazon/Facebook/Expedia folks moving in want a short commute and are willing to pay more for it why shouldn't they be able to? If you make $15/hour you still have plenty of options to the South and North, but maybe you can't afford Capital Hill or Ballard anymore. If you want a shorter commute go get a job that pays more (and those jobs clearly do exist in this case since the people getting them are the ones out bidding people for close-in housing). Ultimately the only solution that will slow rent increases is to build more housing to fully accommodate the new residents so that they don't put pressure on the existing housing stock. Every ugly Capital Hill or SLU building that goes up at least takes in tenants that would otherwise be bidding up the price of existing units in Northgate and Rainer Valley.
14
On some sort of grand procedural level I suppose I agree, but I'm glad the law is there. Rent control is very tempting as a cheap and easy fix NOW for people at a particular time and place. But try to move to San Francisco now and tell me how effective rent control is at providing affordable housing. There are better approaches that are perfectly legal. Rent control is a pandering cheap fix with very bad long term consequences.
15
"This is the Lesser Seattle folks who rent"

Nails it. It divides renters politically, making a good healthy chunk of them as indifferent to rises in rents as homeowners are. The political coalition of "let's not build anything ever because we like it the way it is and developers evil" created by homeowners and rent-control protected tenants is why SF spent a couple of decades barely adding a thousand units a year to the housing stock even as population grew, which is an important part of the story on how the city is completely unaffordable now.
16
@11:

Your quotation of me is not, as anyone can see, a quotation.

Price controls will just create a shadow market.

That's the closest I can find to your misrepresentation. I don't need to see a full proposal to back that statement. If you would like to make up a hypothetical that works around it, great for you. I can't respond to it in advance.

Screw off.
17
@9:

Agreed, there are concrete steps to take to increase the housing stock. The problem is that the housing won't be the exact same apartments or single family homes that people live in now. I read a great explanation on Seattle Transit Blog or similar - who advocates for the future/potential residents of increasingly dense neighborhoods?
18
This is a question like asking a bunch of sixth-graders when they are voting for the class president, "Are you ready for free Coke with your lunch!?"

OF COURSE people want it, I want it, you want it...but anyone who knows a thing about this issue know that it's irrelevant for us. State law precludes rent control, and there's about a 0% chance of getting it without a state initiative, and who'll fund that?

No, this is just more pretty smart but INCREDIBLY cynical grandstanding by Sawant. AND, this is what's so horrible about her. She does not care for reality, just for self-aggrandizement. She's a horrible person in that she'll manipulate the useful idiots and then take credit for nothing happening.
19
@18:A grandstanding individual living off of Microsoft? I'm shocked.