News Mar 10, 2023 at 9:00 am

As the Affordability Crisis Rages On, State Dems Do Nothing to Stop Rent Gouging

Dems to renters: Thanks for the votes, guys! We'll do something about the rents, uhhh, soon! RICHARD THEIS / EYEEM / GETTY IMAGES



Rent stabilization raises rents for everyone in the long run, and it’s a win for corporate landlords(probably a few of the advocating the bill would profit immensely as well), while cash poor landlords get pushed out of the market. Hb1389 would have raised everyone’s rents by ~1k all over the state, within 2 years. I’d be thankful it didn’t pass…


"While studies show that building lots of housing can slow rent increases in nearby neighborhoods a little, realistically it really is only a little (like 1% little), and it doesn't happen quickly."

In other words, eliminating SFH zoning will have little to no impact on housing affordability.


"Despite large Democratic majorities in the State House and Senate, yesterday lawmakers failed to pass the most landlord-friendly anti-rent-gouging bill imaginable. "

This sentence doesn't say what I think you meant to say.


Did you mean impossible?
"Because House Democrats continue to impose a filibuster on themselves, ending debate requires a two-thirds vote of the body, which is nearly possible to obtain"

Did the editor leave. I mean this looks like one of my comments.


“Homeowners enjoy rent control in the form of fixed-rate mortgages.”

Unless, of course, they have a variable-rate mortgage.

And while homeowners do build credit by paying their mortgage and (generally) have an appreciable asset in their home, they also have some uncertainty in their property taxes and, in some cases, HOA dues.


"A quick glance at financial disclosure forms from every member in the House and Senate reveals that a number of politicians in both chambers have a personal financial interest maintaining the current power dynamic between renters and landlords, which is heavily tilted in favor of the latter. "

I mean come on. How much Adderall did you take while typing this up? Try reading this sentence without taking a breath.


"they did advance a bill that basically makes landlords provide a receipt when they refuse to return your full security deposit, which is astronomically high in the first place because state lawmakers continue to do jack shit to stop rent-gouging,"

Tell me that you don't know jack shit about the rental market without actually saying it. Security deposits are largely to protect against property damage by tenants. They have nothing to do with "rent gouging".

And if you think they are too high, take a look at the cost of refinishing a hardwood floor that gets trashed, or having to repair/repaint because a tenant put a zillion holes in the wall hanging pictures and shelving. Unskilled handymen are now demanding $50/hour. Skilled people like flooring contractors are astronomically high.

Generally, a deposit is more than enough to cover repair costs and gets returned. If not, a tenant has recourse in Small Claims Court. But a month's rent (the max allowed by the City) is nowhere near enough to cover damage done by a bad tenant. And regardless of how much you hate landlords, a tenant has an obligation under the lease contract not to damage the property, and when one does, there needs to be recourse for the property owner.


@5 - exactly. Homeowners take on all the risk of property ownership, and sometimes get truly hosed on it. Tenants take on zero risk.


@5 They also have to maintain their asset and hopefully they didn't overpay for it in the first place. So many people buy a house and don't realize that effort and cost to maintain it. Also you typically need to hold on to it for a while to realize any significant gain. Unless you are downsizing or moving to a cheaper state, you don't realize any real gain. The only way you can get ahead and an individual, is to own rental properties but that is no longer true in the city of Seattle.


@2: Eliminating SFH is purely a class-grudge issue. The Stranger touts it as a way of increasing housing affordability because they can’t get enough support for it via appeals to envy, spite, and malice.


“the very people who they [Legislative Democrats] rely on to keep their majorities”

Yea, because all this renters are going to vote for who else? Republicans aren’t going to gain majorities over the failure of renter’s protection bills. Yeesh.


JFC, Rich… You are seriously unhinged.


@1 nailed it. Intended or not, tenant and zoning laws are setting the stage for consolidating rental units to corporations. At which point, you’ll see all kinds of price gouging shenanigans backed up by lawyers. Where’s the displacement mitigation? Small landlords can’t keep up with these regulations.


11: *those


@11 eliminating single family housing is better than Mosquidas stupid ploy eliminating “single-family” zoning designation and instead refer to the areas as “neighborhood residential zones.” She conned us all with her useless proposal as a waste of time, money and energy.


@5 that notion about homeowner rent control is really funny. My property taxes went up 20% this year and have doubled in the last 6 years. At no time have I received a 6 month notice from the state. In fact Dow has been in the news lately advocating for the ability to raise property taxes even more under the threat of cutting public safety and mental health services.


@16 - yeah, the desires and “demands” of renters are understandable but obviously not rooted in reality.

Landlords aren’t my favorite people either but rising rents aren’t just tied to supply and demand or even greed (although they certainly play into it) - any rising costs for landlords will be passed on to the renter. Property taxes, utilities (if included in rent) for example.


Imposition of rent control, restrictive regulations, limits on rental increases and the whole cast of "hurrah for the tenants and screw you the property owner" don't work.

Its a very short term, short sighted strategy which is doomed to failure and divisive.

Antagonistic and one sided Landlord-Tenant laws also are a big discouragement to landlords.... hence the supply. Who would be a landlord in this wicked city. The current laws on the books are highly slanted against the landlord... I think it mission accomplished.

The quickest and most sure fire solution and cure to rising rents is to increase supply. If the city would reduce the red tape on permits, encourage meaningful change in zoning (increasing high limits-density) and work in concert with developers... we could get meaningful increases in the supply of housing units.

You can try the "nanny state approach" where the city gets into the rental game, its not efficient, its costly and poorly managed. Basically it turns into a hot mess... look no further than the bucolic splendor of Yesler Terrace.


Seattle's war on housing providers have caused mom-and-pops to sell out.

Mom-and-pops' units are single-family houses, duplex, triplexes--and are generally much more affordable than corporate landlords

Last year--per the City of Seattle's Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance--Seattle lost 10,000 mom-and-pop units. They sold and became $900K townhouses, or owner-occupied.

1. the ability to find a $1,200 small 1 bedroom is shrinking

Corporate landlords with deep pockets are happy to fill the void with $2,000+ small 1 bedrooms
Rental qualifications are going up. No longer are housing providers willing to risk renting to someone with late payments on rent, car loans, and/or credit card.

NET: the 'war on housing providers' is hurting, not helping housing affordability and availability.

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