Guest Rant Apr 27, 2023 at 12:54 pm

It's an Important Piece of the Puzzle for Solving Our Housing Crisis

Efrain Hudnell is an attorney and urbanist running for Seattle City Council District 3 Courtesy of the Campaign



I assume “property tax control” would go hand and hand with this, right?


YIMBYs: We need the savior of the free market to provide more and affordable housing!

Also YIMBYs: We will manipulate the market so it doesn’t function properly, and pushes out affordable housing providers because of renter regulation or additional costs.

Can’t have it both ways.


Well, we know this guy is bent on reducing the number of available apartments in the city. Seems like a sure-fire way to help renters.


@1: Consider a cocktail delivered to your table.


So his primary platform is to pass two pieces of legislation that his office has no power to pass. The reason HOA's are excluded is because state law cannot retroactively change homeowner agreements so existing HOAs will forever be exempted no matter how much whining urbanist-socialists like this want to do. Neither a SCC or a state legislature can do anything about lest they want to be sued. Of course given the track record of the incumbent (cough Showbox) it wouldn't surprise me if he tried anyway.

As for rent control, why do we always hear, yeah it failed there but they didn't try it my way. He says we shouldn't be against rent control based on what might happen.....except we know what DID happen in cities and areas that have implemented rent control and it wasn't good. Pretending if we just do it here it will be better than literally every other city that has tried it is just plain dumb. I think there is a say about doing something over and over and expecting different results and for this candidate and his platform it would seem an apt label.


Interesting argument, but my counter argument is that Seattle needs to build 50,000 units of public housing every year until we get rid of our homeless problem.

Building more public housing is needed. Doing so would also reduce the pressure on rents.


"In addition to upzoning the places that are exempt under HB 1110"

Changing zoning regulations in Broadmoor would only have a meaningful effect on housing availability if numerous wealthy homeowners elected to tear down their mansions and build low income housing. This candidate has to recognize that will never, ever happen. His position is purely performative.


@8 how do you propose to pay for the construction not to mention the ongoing maintenance? btw you can build to infinity and you'll never get rid of the homeless problem. Most of the visible homeless on the streets have addiction/mental health illness issues that plain ole housing won't solve and if you build "affordable" housing there is an unlimited amount of people who would love to move to Seattle and live in subsidized units.


@9 see my response above. You are never, ever, ever, ever building a triplex is Broadmoor even if you found homeowners willing to do it. Those housing covenants will make the property even more valuable and it will become a selling point.


Gosh, if only Seattle — and especially District 3 — had ever elected a candidate who promised rent control, and then returned that candidate to office multiple times! We’d surely have rent control by now, wouldn’t we?


Considering how rent control has made renting in certain cities impossible internationally, I would strongly suggest no to rent control. It benefits a select few people and jacks up rent for everyone else.


"My policy position is that we should do things the office I am running for has no power to actually do, and I will assert these policies are real-world tested and work despite the voluminous research suggesting they do not. Also I am a serious policy wonk and not a complete tool engaging in performative nonsense."


I’ve owned two duplexes in the central district for thirty years. I’ve always charged below market rents. When tenants moved out I would list a little higher than what I had been renting to see what the price point should be based on call backs. If no one called I’d reduce price every five days till someone called. Usually at whatever point that was lots of people would call. That’s when I knew it was the right fair price. I wasn’t gauging because even one month empty would make it that much harder to pay taxes. I sold one of the two duplexes in March and the other will be up for sale soon. I’ve had enough of the clown show Seattle has become. The new owners raised rent 600 a unit. Not sure it’s rented at that but all these rules protecting tenant over landlord just lost you a good landlord that has had enough of the city council. Rent control…. Ridiculous. The city council can pass it all they want but it’s state law to not have it. Like Sawant , this guy is another want to be. How many units have been lost in the last ten years due to all the new regulations? I read somewhere more than 10,000 units, but is there an actual figure?


@8: “…my counter argument is that Seattle needs to build 50,000 units of public housing every year…”

That’s not a “counter-argument,” it’s an absurdist fantasy, on the level of the ones in this headline post. So you’ve kept up with the spirit of this miserable dreck. (Congratulations?)

For the period 2016-2022, Seattle issued permits for less than 70,000 residential units, over 25,000 of which remain unbuilt. ( So you’re breezily talking about exceeding a six-fold increase in the number of units delivered, but all of yours will be “affordable,” i.e. subsidized. Good luck with all that.



If the city is going to impose rent control then the city should also take responsibility for the tenants. If the tenant refuses to pay or is unable to pay the rent the the city should step in and pay. If the tenant turns out to be the classic tenant from hell who becomes violent when angered and decides to trash the place, the city pays restitution to the landlord. So many of the homeless are so because of drug addiction; that's why they cannot hold a job and why sometimes will react violently and not only wreck the place they're in but also make lives miserable for other tenants who live there. If the city imposes rent control the city should also step to the plate and assure proper tenant control as well.


This guy is an idiot.


Wow! Lots of great comments and thoughts to Efrain’s commitment to rent control. Rent control will ultimately reduce the number of apartments, lower the quality of housing (what’s a Landlord’s incentive to paint, re-carpet or upgrade?) Ultimately eliminating the important “Mom & Pop” landlords. It’s the Mom & Pops that don’t gouge tenants, evict tenants and keep rent below market. Rent control is a pie in the sky concept. It doesn’t work! We have spent billions on Light Rail. Seattle can’t be the only city to provide much needed housing!


I would love to see what cities or regions Mr. Hudnell points to as having successful rent control policies. there are places like NY and SFO that have had strong rent control for decades, and also out of this world rents on market units, severe shortages of ANY rental housing, and extremely adversarial relations between housing providers, tenants, and government. OR has statewide rent control that is relatively moderate, and as soon as inflation hit the tenant activists started pushing to reduce the caps that were negotiated between both sides only a couple years ago so clearly they aren't happy with it. European cities and countries with rent control have years long waiting lists for apartments in any kind of desirable area, thriving black markets and EXTREME housing shortages that put our own housing 'crisis' to shame, along with all the same misallocated animosity and wasted energy fighting over who deserves how much of a shrinking pie. Some fraction of people get absurdly low rent which ultimately drives some landlords bankrupt or makes them quit or sell out so I suppose if all you look at is that and you hate anybody who dares try to earn income by providing housing as a service, then yay success but the societal costs dramatically exceed the benefits. This has been shown in many studies on the subject.

A far more efficient mechanism would be reforming and expanding programs like section 8, so they cover more people who need it, and are more appealing for participation by housing providers. I wonder how many households' housing instability could be cured by taking the free-lawyer budget for tenants and applying it all to section 8 for example.

Its also unrealsitic to think that redevelopment - he is right some amount of that is inevitable, and potentially advantageous if done right - is going to bypass cheaper, run down properties in close in areas and only go after only nicely kept properties occupied by [non BIPOC non poor] people. Besides, if all this new development is intended to mostly benefit people lower on the income ladder and those who have had trouble qualifying for rentals for whatever reason, it makes more sense to develop in neighobrhoods with more people of that demographic. that means less displacement from the overall neighborhood even if there is some local moves as old housing is replaced with new which seems like a better goal than trying to keep somebody in a potentially substandard unit.


A lot of this paper's support for pie in the sky policing approaches have appalled me, but there's no denying this city (and nation and planet) have TOO MANY REAL ESTATE SPECULATORS! STOP allowing conglomerates to buy mass amounts of homes and then trade them as REIT stocks. STOP IT! Unfortunately, one jurisdiction can't do THAT, since it's a national need for legislation, but cities can push back, like Berlin did, and others are trying to do. While generally I wouldn't support more power for ivory tower loads in out of control fantasist local govt, REAL ESTATE OWNERS - YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELVES! Rents went up from $175 for a studio apt in 1990 to $1500 today. Did wages go up almost 10x in 30 years? No, they didn't, more like 3X. This town is an overpriced, self-contratulatory DUMP, although we have one of the saner governors in the country. However, LEAVE AMERICA. It ain't worth killing yourself to live here, before some right wing fascist nut mows you down, or they're given total power to put you in a camp by their christofascist armies.


@22: “Rents went up from $175 for a studio apt in 1990 to $1500 today.”

I priced studio apartments in Pike-Pine in early 1991. Range was $400 - $450. So, increase to today was just over 3x.

From 2015-2018, Seattle’s population increased BY a number equal to the entire population of Bellevue. There’s only so many places to build in a city of less than 90 square miles, much of it on hillsides. And now the state is commanding Seattle to go the wrong way, building up SFH neighborhoods into higher densities, with absolutely no plan at all for more grade-separated mass transit into those built-up neighborhoods. Meanwhile, hi-rise friendly vacant lots still abound in pedestrian
Belltown, and all along the MLK light-rail corridor.


WRONG. You could rent an entire 2-3 bedroom house (not fancy) in Seattle for $500 in 1990. Were you here? I doubt it. America is a land of capitalist parasites with zero control on their exploitation bents. I still want to see criminals put in jail and addicts can stay homeless instead of ruining other's living experiences, however, this country is also based on suburban sprawl, and now transit can never catch up. The American right should just stop lying and pretending they care about any principles other than law of the jungle, and then they won't be surprised when there's either a revolt or just another deflationary implosion caused by too much caused by too many REITs pushers on Wall St.


$500 in 1990? Wrong. A decent apartment was 800-1000 then. I know. It was the first time I needed a place after leaving my parents house. Yes things were cheaper than now, but you always get what you pay for.


So, you want private capital to invest high-density housing and then you want totell them what they can charge for rent? You can’t possibly be this ignorant?


@22, @24: In 1990, the average monthly rent on a studio apartment in the greater Seattle area was $359, or just over twice what you claimed. So, $1500 now would be less than an 5X increase — over a period of thirty-three years (!). In 1990, average monthly rent on a three-bedroom apartment (not house), was $659.

So, assuming you were even in Seattle, whatever fleabag shitholes you occupied back then might have been easy on your wallet, but most renters could not reside that cheaply in Seattle.

@25: In 1990, average monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment was $510. Your tastes are a bit fancier than mine, because by the next year, the average rental rate for a studio was $444, just as I correctly recalled @23.


@26: Not only that, but he’s going to create 200,000 new units of housing (over the past decade of unprecedented housing growth, Seattle has been persistently unable to maintain a pace of 10,000 new units per year) whilst not displacing anyone diversity equity blah blah buzzwords.

He’s setting himself up for such an abjectly humiliating failure, it will make the current incumbent seem wildly successful by comparison.

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