Council Members Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant Introduce Rent Control Resolution

Comments

1
Did Sawant REALLY say "Boeing's $9 million", or did she perhaps say, "Boeing's $9 billion", (which is closer to the actual amount)?
2
"The Market" can't be trusted. Look at the infamous 'Tulip Mania'...or any other economic bubble since that time. "The Market" doesn't account for fairness, or justice, or even wise development. It has only one motive: Profit.
The Market must be controlled, like a completely wild beast, in order to do proper work for humanity. The historical evidence shows it cannot control itself.
3
The historical evidence also shows that rent control doesn't work. It basically rewards those who got in early and punishes those late to the game.

If you're worried about rents being too high, you need to financially motivate developers to build more apartments at various price points. That means high density, high building heights, and things like apodments.
4
@3 - a wise man. Good on ya.
5
I guess Jon Grant can take credit for this like he took credit for Sally Clark dropping out. By the way, maybe someone should ask him why he refused to talk to the Maple Leaf community.
6
Our GOP dominated legislature is generally a bunch of asshats, but I'll smile a little at the thought of this terribly backwards plan being balled up and thrown in the trash in Olympia.

I'd support the city being able to impose rent stabilization only if it was coupled with a state requirement the city rezone say, 20% of our precious, precious single family zones for multifamily.
7
@1 for the Rent Is Really Way Too High win
8
@3, apodments don't house any more than one person. That doesn't exactly fall under the rubric of rental housing, nor does the high price for that apodment when you relate it to square footage.
9
I'm a big believer in putting some giant-assed limits on The Free Market, but rent control is an incredibly dumb idea. Have none of these people been to NYC?
10
This area isn't really building new apartments of the sort it should.

It's only building freakish luxury condos.

The housing stock, as expensive as it is, is a atrocious. 100 year old worker housing on the Westside that is moldy with bad electrical and plumbing. 50 year old suburban dream tiki shacks on the Eastside.

Everything else is too big, too far, to...stupid...for a modern person to want.

Meanwhile the things they should be building...7 story, middle class apartments, all along the corridors, are not being built.

And the Land Hogs continue to benefit without contributing their fair share because of the Property Tax cap.

All in all this is a State of Unbalance.
11
@10 You are the person i think of when i hear(see) the term 'un-balanced state'.
12
#11

And I'm sure you told that to the five or six imaginary friends you have at the downtown Seattle Library.
13
It is frustrating to see people want and demand things that have already been proven to fail. We all want something for free but that isn't real life. Rent control wont get you an apartment downtown and $15 an hour wont get you a Bently. What you will get it less development causing less apartments in the city and basic goods costs rising. How do we know? Because that is what happened in San Fran and New York. New York Is constantly rolling their regulation back because it is a failed system. Government regulation doesn't always fix the problem.

Socialism is another example of people not learning. Why are there only 4 socialist countries (Lao, Cuba, China, Vietnam)? Their are 21 former Socialist countries, and many failed countries ruled by socialist parties like Venezuela. I got news for you, when you give the government all the power they go after the wealthy people and the educated people. It is easy to rule the poor and dumb.
14
Imposing rent control on old rental stock and/or housing stock that does not meet current code (soundproofing, fireproofing, quakeproofing, electrical, plumbing, etc.) but not on new or up-to-code rental stock does not necessarily cause the socialist apocalypse the free-market Kool-Aid drinkers are catastrophizing about. I'd also like to see an anti-trust investigation into the apparent bulk buy-up of Seattle-area properties by Wall Street cartels, and into the strategically withheld shadow inventory of bank REO, made possible by Congress's generous bailout of lenders rather than howeowners. I'm convinced that something more than the "free market" is behind Seattle's skyrocketing rents and housing prices.
15
The reason rents are rising is because there isn't enough housing in the city to provide everyone who wants to live there with a place to live. Rent Control does NOTHING to solve the core problem of scarcity, it only changes the identities of who gets affected by it - shifting the burden away from people who already live in the city (who can vote in city elections) and onto people who want to move in (who can't). The State government is completely correct to stop the Seattle city government from screwing over people who have a stake in its policies but aren't enfranchised in this way. It's time for the council to address the real problem by fixing the zoning code so the city will be affordable for everyone.

The reason the only stuff getting built is luxury is because the amount of new construction is restricted. If Toyota were limited to making 10,000 cars a year, what kind would they make - expensive Lexuses or affordable Corollas? Obviously they'd make only Lexuses. The same principle is at play here. If you want affordable apartments, you have to allow enough new construction to create enough square footage for everyone. If you only allow a little bit of new construction here and there, the rich will buy it all up and leave the regular folks out in the cold.

I am not a free market ideologue. I support the Affordable Care Act, a high minimum wage, strong unions and a guaranteed basic income. I am not one of those idiots who thinks the market is the solution to all our problems - it certainly isn't going to solve climate change or give us the infrastructure we need. But it is, in fact, the solution to some things, and a shortage of inhabitable square footage is one of the problems that it can and will in fact solve, if we can get the zoning code and the NIMBYs out of the way.
16
@11 -- Yep.

It is easy to forget history, but take a look around you. Those old, cool buildings you see -- they would be illegal now. Most don't have parking and a lot are built in areas dominated by houses (Oh no!). We always had a problem with the poor not being able to afford housing. Always. The difference is that now, the middle class can't afford it. Why? Because middle class housing is illegal. I can buy a small house and tear it down, then put up a monster house. That is legal. But if I make that old house into a duplex, then I would be breaking the law.

That sort of thing exists all over. You can build a luxury apartment, with one unit per floor, and you don't need to provide much parking, and you can save a bundle by skipping the review process. But if you put a dozen apartments on each floor, then it becomes a lot more expensive. That is why developers tried to use the Apodment loophole -- have the same number of apartments; but since a "unit" is considered a kitchen, the builders "got away" with building more. The law is designed to limit the number of people that can move into a neighborhood (or at least it works that way). This is nuts. Why should it matter? If I build a six story building, who cares how many it houses? The short answer is the law does, and it makes it really expensive to put a bunch of people in there.

This all ends up costing everyone a bunch of money. It should stop.