The Need for Rent Control

Comments

1

Landlords just need to be better at saving and if they still cant make it they should get a second job.

2

The enemies of Seattle. Corporations, mom & pop landlords, homeowners, people with jobs, cars, and opposing opinions.

4

They have rent control in Stockholm Sweden. According to the BBC the city’s queue for rent-controlled housing is so long that it’s being considered by the Guinness Book of World Records. On average, it takes nine years to be granted a rent-controlled property – and that jumps to two decades in some of the most popular neighbourhoods.

They have a black market that speeds things up but it's expensive.

5

“ overpaying for housing”

If they’re willing to pay the price, they are not overpaying.

6

@3 They don't even need to go to Texas-- they could move to Spokane. Rent is a third to half of what it is in Seattle, and there is ample medical care for people in situations like the one described in the article.

8

These problems are not ours alone. Google literally any city that added population in the last five years + "housing crisis" and you will find a local news article lamenting inadequate housing and displacement. Red State, Blue State, little housing regulation, lots of regulation, permissive zoning, restrictive zoning, it does not matter. This iteration of capitalism has utterly failed. Rent control alone will not fix a national system failure.

Regardless, there is one big point: rent control is not a long-term affordability measure. It should only be viewed a rent stabilizing measure for current residents. That has value in itself, and is ample reason for current residents to support it. The only way to create affordability is for the government to actively create more housing for median and lower incomes. There are many mechanisms for the government to create that housing, but we know from 100 years of modern history across the world that the "market" will not do it in the time scale needed.

However, there are other problems. Vancouver built more housing than needed for the people that moved there, but much of that "housing" stayed vacant and just stored money. Without controls on vacancy, short term rentals, speculation, non-resident capital flows, and money laundering, even large scale building cannot be expected to solve our problems.

9

Rent control - the climate change of economics, as in nearly all economists agree it doesn’t work.

10

Any solution that doesn't add housing doesn't put a roof over anyone's head. Rent control just chooses who gets that roof.

Why isn't the socialist side on board with upzoning for adding homes? Forcing 87% of our land area to be single family housing is the wrong kind of government control.

11

“ Forcing 87% of our land area to be single family housing”

The old lie was 75%.

13

@11 I think the urbanists now count Boeing Field’s land area in the single family percentage. Along with any lake, I5 and the zoo.

16

Pro tip: increasing barriers to enter and operate in a market increases the cost to the consumer. It creates risk, larger profit margin and motivation for experts operating in that environment. So go ahead, keep trashing the small mom& pop operators.

18

NYC and SF have rent control and are both well known for their abundance of affordable housing. Because as stated above, all it takes is the stroke of a pen and you can magically fix the lack of concrete, wood and plaster that actually shelters people. And there is no better way to convince residents to invest in building out an ADU/DADU unit than by letting them know that the Seattle City Council will take care of making all of the decisions on how they price and manage that unit.

In seriousness, while there are legitimate issues with the urbanist push to simple upzone everything without any actual plans for matching infrastructure, at least that approach creates housing units to try and fill the shortage. Proportionately Seattle has been on a tear in adding new units and rents have already been flat for a while now after their big spike. Rent control does nothing of the sort and even most liberal economists recognize it as a failed approach.

19

From the very good critique you linked to:
"As mentioned earlier, in many cities that have implemented rent control, landlords impose rent increases every year at or near the maximum allowed, rather than when their costs require it. This is because they know that if they fall behind the long-term inflation rate, rent controls will prevent them from catching up. And that’s only one tricky part of tying rent control to inflation; another is simply choosing what inflation metric to tie it to. Some cities tie it to broad-based consumer inflation, but in places like Seattle construction and building maintenance costs have far outpaced inflation, so a landlord’s ongoing costs will go up faster than consumer inflation rates."

Those mom & pop landlords who kept your rent increases as low as possible because you're a good tenant? They won't be doing that anymore. Good luck!

21

If Mrs. Sawant is looking for a fight and wants to do something that might help, she should really work on reducing or eliminating Seattle's single family housing zones.

If she wants to do something that will help without as much of a fight (I know, it's not her style), she should get the city to build more low income housing... nobody else is going to do this after all.

22

@20

Republicans would surely never pass policy that benefits the few at the expense of everybody else.

23

@3 and @20: STFU, the both of you. I am a PNW native of Washington State and not going anywhere "cheap". Did you two move here from somewhere else?
@19 Escapee from S. Idaho: Good luck--yes, I'll need it. I have been very lucky, rent-wise, where I live for the last fifteen years. I am hopeful that my building won't be sold off to insanely greedy developers seeking luxury condos at $2 million a pop.

25

A two bedroom house in Edmunds, what's that property worth $400K+ ?

$1k rent was way under market, $1600 is still cheap.

Assuming landlord pays the taxes of $3K-4K a year. Tenant pays water, that can run $100-200 nowadays.

Private landlords can't be expected to run at a loss. Rule of thumb rent was 1% of value / month, nowhere near that now.

On the other hand these people were paying their rent and maintaining the property we need some publicly owned housing.

26

@1 Great idea! For all the greedy landlords out there who want to raze existing single family housing or apartment buildings for high rises, they can earn extra money flipping burgers at bare minimum wage.

27

“ PNW native of Washington State”

What tribe?

29

It's been proven time and time again that Rent Control has an abundance of unintended consequences and simply DOES NOT WORK. What does work is allowing for higher density housing and building high quality public transportation. In Chicago, NYC, Boston, Philly and DC you can definitely get from affordable areas to prime employment areas by public trans in less than an hour. That seems reasonable to me.

30

Nobody making free market arguments against rent control or the minimum wage ever seems to make the same argument against parking minimums or corporate tax subsidies. Don't even get me started on status quo single family zoning. Same economists will tell you those are bad.

Outraged that we dare tell the owner of the property next door how much rent they can charge, but equally outraged that we would let them build as many apartments as the market will bear on your neighbor's lot. With only as many parking spaces (zero LOL) as the market will bear. Really? Because free market economics says we're all better off if we let the market decide, not the government.

Seems like if they wanted to be taken seriously, they'd at least try to be consistent. Don't ask me to have faith in markets if you won't.

32

Less regulation on landlords, bringing back criminal background checks, lowering property taxes, lowering utitlity rates - these are things that could lower rents in the Seattle Metro Area. If rent control were to pass, you would see every rental jack up the rents as high as was possible before the law was enacted to ensure that their rental can still make money.

33

Rich, are you seriously suggesting that Mom and pop landlords contributing to their retirement fund out of their rental income is not “legitimate”?

34

Republicans, a short play:

"Quack quack of you can't afford Seattle move to Spokane quack quack!"

"Quack quack people who work in the service industry shouldn't be paid enough to live in Seattle quack quack!"

"Quack quack I don't want to pay for public transportation for those low wage workers to be able to come to Seattle every day to make my latte quack quack!"

And scene.

35

After all, rent control has worked so well to keep San Francisco affordable. /sarc

37

I will never understand why people are so invested in protecting the financial gutting of everyone but the wealthy. I lived in Seattle in 2002, when vacancy on Capitol Hill was 35% and landlords (who had suffered huge losses after gouging renters before the dot com crash were BEGGING and PAYING people to move in). Fast forward to 2020. The building I lived in (where I paid $650/mo for four years for my apartment) now charges nearly $1800 for the same apartment and the owners of the building have not done a thing to improve the building. It is worse than ever! Covered in bird shit, trash room overflowing, bed bugs, broken appliances in the laundry room, the two elevators that were always out of order when I lived there (thankfully I lived on the first floor) are STILL broken and pretty much always out of order, AND the never ending water problems (no hot water, water being shut off all of the time, outrageous water bills for a studio apartment that when I was paying were equal to the water bill a friend payed on his two bedroom house) are all still going on!

The ONLY reason landlords raise the rents as much as they do is because they can and they will and there is no one to stop them. Are rents outrageous in places with tenant laws that dictate how much rent an be raised? Yep. But they would be more outrageous if those laws were not in place and those places also include other tenant laws, like requiring landlords to provide clean living spaces, disclose bed bug infestations, etc. and there is legal recourse that protects the tenant not just the landlord. Shocking!

I fail to comprehend how people who believe people who work in this country do not deserve a living wage or the right to a place to live, also believe homeless people are homeless because they want to be, AND also believe landlords should have all the rights to do as they please. Exactly how much cognitive dissonance is required to keep all of these opposing beliefs in place? If someone needs to make $80K to afford a place to live where they work, then a living wage is $80K. Period. And landlords should not be allowed to raise the rent at a percentage higher than an increase in someone's annual wages, should not be allowed to raise the rent if they have not done anything to improve the space they are renting, and especially should not be allowed to raise the rent by any percentage they choose simply because they feel like it and want more money. People who pay their rent and are good tenants deserve to remain in their homes without being booted out onto the street because a landlord decides to raise the rent by an obscene amount.

One very important part of all of this that would protect both parties is a lease. Binding contracts are required to ensure that both parties comply. After an initial lease, Seattle landlords will not provide a new lease - everything goes month to month. Binding year or multiyear leases would facilitate legal recourse for both parties.

38

Rent control will stabilize price for the lucky few. Everybody else is screwed.

This is one reason my Gen X kid really want to buy, not rent.

She’s renting with 2 other roommates in a 2 BR 1 1/2 bath place. The apt itself is small, little storage -not even for bikes, NOISY and has unresponsive apartment managers. These kids have good paying jobs (physical therapist), but the added fees and corporate shenanigans made them realize, they are at the mercy of some out of state, corporate entity.

It has been a big wake up call.

39

Where in the US constitution does it say housing is a right?

That's right, no where.

Can't afford the rent? Move somewhere cheaper or get a roommate. Plenty of cheap places in Seatac, Burien, Skyway and Lynnwood, all within an easy train ride to downtown Seattle (or soon will be).

But keep chasing this windmill. There's no way the Washington State legislature will change the ban. Just like there's no way they'll pass an income tax.

41

@30 "Nobody making free market arguments against rent control or the minimum wage ever seems to make the same argument against parking minimums or corporate tax subsidies. "

Say what? They make exactly the same arguments. The folks who want to liberalize the zoning rules (i. e. legalize cheap apartments) want to do away with parking minimums. That is probably the first thing they would do. That argument has been made over and over again by me, and others ("First thing we should when it comes to zoning is get rid of the parking minimum" I wrote, probably ten years ago).

As for corporate tax subsidies, you have the same set of writers, more or less. Minimum wage is different, and a lot more complicated. The long and short of it is that the at the right price point, the negative effect on employment from rising labor costs are counter acted by having more low income consumers with money in their hands.

42

If rent control works, why do the cities that have it also have the higest rents? Looking at you, San Francisco. What ends up happening is people sit in their apartments for years, taking that many more units off the market. Less market rate availability means more demand for fewer units. More demand equals hight market rates. It ends up making the gap even more extreme.

Rather than tilt at the rent control windmill, just build more fucking housing! The more units at market rate, the lower the cost will be. Every neighborhood should be upzoned and parking requirements eliminated. This is the way.

43

@41

Who, exactly? The Seattle Times editorial board? No. Neighborhood anti-HALA activists? The ones putting up spy cameras around their neighborhood? Safe Seattle? Who? Maybe you and the mouse in your pocket, but anybody to speak of? Everybody who matters that thinks rent control and the minimum wage is the devil turns right around and says we can't touch single family zoning, allow DADUS or tiny houses or upzoing, and every unit needs three off street parking spaces, minimum. And giving away billions to Boeing was smart economics.

They're selfish. If they can be selfish, economists be damned, why can't renters?

44

RE: Everyone saying Texas has cheap housing.

Wut? Rent in Austin is insane. Houston inside the loop is also insane. Not sure about Dallas.

Rent in major urban areas is high across the nation... yes, including major urban cities in Texas. Yeah, maybe you can get a cheap apartment in Lubbock but no one on the planet wants to live there.

45

@37 " And landlords should not be allowed to raise the rent at a percentage higher than an increase in someone's annual wages "
Okay ... So if a landlord's utilities and property taxes increase, they can't raise the rent? It sounds like most of your rental experience has been with commercial landlords. I know several mom & pop landlords (as in, one unit), and they take maintenance very seriously. They also aren't getting rich from their property as they're still paying mortgages.

@38 The youngest GenXers are about 40 ... is your "kid" who's still living with multiple roommates really a GenXer?

47

@40 pretending that everyone is able to "opt out of owning" in the first place is absolute nonsense. And yes, people who rent and pay their rent on time every time, and people who take good care of their apartments and are good tenants absolutely should be able to have an expectation of not having their rent raised by 50% because their landlord wants more money.

The people who say things like "move somewhere else" are the same people who expect low wage earners to be there to do all the menial work they deem themselves above doing. So people should live in Spokane where they can afford to live, but commute to Seattle to wipe your grandpa's ass or make your latte or do your online grocery store shopping and delivery because YOU can afford to live in Seattle AND YOU deserve to be able to have those services without any of the people providing those services being paid enough to live in the city you do.

This is so fucking stupid and hateful it is truly beyond comprehension. Just because someone had enough money to buy a piece of property does not make them better than someone who does not. And plenty of people, even if they are fortunate enough to have an option, choose not to buy for any number of reasons. Oh and pretending it is not expensive to up and move out of a rental is pure fantasy, especially now when landlords expect tons of money up front (including pet deposits and pet rent and cleaning fees and non-refundable administrative fees and whatever additional let's see how much we can fuck over the renter fees they can come up with).

Our society as a whole cannot have it ALL ways! You can't have no homeless people when you refuse to house people who have no homes. You can't have people being displaced and unable to afford to live in a place when there is no regulation on how much rent can be raised AND there is no support for living wages for people to be able to afford rent or extreme rent increases. You can't have over half of the population of this country performing service jobs and expect them to live hours and hours and hours away from where they work AND not have any options for affordable transportation or in some cases means of transportation, period.

At some point, something has to give. There is a reason in the past cities were places where people of all classes could afford to live, not just the wealthy. Everybody has something to contribute to a functioning society and every contribution matters, so everyone has a right to be able to live (pay rent, eat, afford to go to the doctor, save money, and take time off) while working for a living (whether that's being an over payed Amazon tech bro asshole or the miminum wage worker who has to serve that asshole their coffee every day).

If all of the wealthy people want the right to live where they believe only they deserve to live then they need to create enclaves where they don't have service workers. Build the robot slave society already and do away with all labor that is considered undeserving of a living wage.

Personally, people would get far more upset about no one to make them coffee, serve them food, clean, pick up garbage, and make sure everything runs smoothly on a daily basis than they would if suddenly every asshole computer engineer making six figures disappeared.

48

@43- most of the people I know are against rent control (because it doesn't help) and for more housing density (because it would help). I don't know ANYONE who opposed DADUs. As to the parking issue, three spaces/unit is laughable but having a proposal for 72 apartments on two house-sized building lots with 8 spaces is pretty laughable too.

49

I just want to point out to everybody that instead of this circus of an impeachment, we could be doing work for the American people, like shutting down the government until we get our wall munny - Gawp

50

Guys trying to get rich people to stop being greedy doesn't work so you should stop doing it. Actually what you should do is cut taxes on the rich so they will have more money.
They wont lower the rent but they will stop complaining about you wanting to do something about not being able to afford rent and isn't that good enough?

51

"I don't know ANYONE who opposed DADUs."

Well, come live in Seattle, you'll meet a couple. Queen Anne nimbys fought ADUs in court for four years. Main excuse? Parking, of course.The Eastlake Community Council, the Laurelhurst Community Club, the list goes on and on. Look at a map of which precincts voted for the the Amazon backed candidates. That's who.

"having a proposal for 72 apartments on two house-sized building lots with 8 spaces is pretty laughable too"

And why can't the free market punish developers who fail to meet market demand for parking? Wouldn't a huge apartment with zero parking drive demand for some entrepreneur to build a parking garage next door? Why do you want the government setting parking minimums when supply and demand are perfectly capable of doing so? Why do you trust "most economists" on rent control but not parking?

But the main question is why the same ones who don't trust property owners to decide how much of their property to devote to parking say that property owners are the only ones who can be trusted to set rents?

52

@45, My bad.My kid is 24. I looked it up and she’s a Gen Z.

But housing isn’t more affordable for older generations. I’m holding off my retirement because my good wage can’t keep up with the cost of living. I’m dealing with my dad’s finance where his very generous pension can’t pay for all the cost ($6, 500/mo) of the assisted living care facility (that doesn’t include nursing care for sicker residents; that cost is $10,000/ mo). I deal with people all the time who are in a financial crunch, never anticipating the high cost of drug prices, out of pocket expenses despite having insurance and or Medicare.

For people who have job in healthcare or IT, it’s easier to move to cheaper places. But that’s not true for other jobs. Plus if you have younger kids and elderly parents, good affordable schools and health care needs become big factors in deciding where to live.

53

I have great sympathy for the renters who have been fortunate enough to rent below-market and then get a rent hike. It's awful, I've been there. But if you don't own, you are at the mercy of "the market". I also understand those who have made owning a rental property part of their own retirement plan. Property owners are not charities. The property owners have to pay taxes, maintenance, etc., etc. My Plan A was I was going to rent a little apartment somewhere and rent out the condo until I decided where to move once I sell it. Now that I am legally required to rent to a felon or someone with a horrible rental history, Plan A is now Plan Dead. Instead I will sell the condo for as much money as I can get and get the hell out of this insane area, thereby continuing to reduce rental options for the rental market. Maybe the City and "The Rich" can build some charitable properties for qualified applicants.

55

@51 - i DO live in Seattle. And I personally know no one who was opposed to DADUs. As for parking, do "most economists" say that it should not be required in rental housing? I'm glad that you at least admit that most economists agree that rent control is not a helpful thing. Good thing Kshama knows better than all of them.

Here's what I've noticed. Whenever a big apartment building gets proposed in the areas of Seattle I am familiar with, it's the lack of parking that generates the opposition. If you want to get more housing built, maybe it would be worth listening to the people who would be affected by the added congestion it will bring to the neighborhood streets.

And I admit that I don't know the answer to this, but am guessing that your hypothetical entrepreneur would no way no how be allowed to build a parking garage in a residential area.

I am familiar with the argument that homeowners have no right to expect to park on their street. Fair enough (for what it's worth, we have space to park in our driveway). But the issue is bigger than that. Too many people trying to park in a given area also results in blocked driveways and people parking too close to street corners and killing visibility (as a cyclist, this is one of the most dangerous things out there). And the people who live in cheap apartments are exactly the ones who are likely to need a car, because they are more likely to work a couple of different jobs and have trouble getting to/from both or to change jobs and not know where they'll be working next year.

@53 - just be sure that your qualifications to rent your condo include an excellent rental history. That and making sure that you don't offer an apartment at the "affordable" end of the spectrum will also generally weed out the bad criminal histories. See how the City Council is incentivizing affordable housing?

56

Nothing to add arguing whether or not rent control is worth it, but here's a really interesting article about Tokyo's success in building housing to control price. It would take a page-1 rewrite of most american municipality's zoning codes to get it done here, but interesting nonetheless.

https://www.vox.com/2016/8/8/12390048/san-francisco-housing-costs-tokyo

58

@57

Who needs to visit Russia, Comrade, since they annexed the GOP?

59

Never heard such ignorance and hypocrisy. If you can’t be bothered to follow current events or understand the economics of your government giving away free parking— destroying the market in the process—why must you jump up and begin bleating that everyone knows rent control isn’t economically viable? “But muh driveway!”

Renters need cars? Then why won’t they pay extra for a parking space? If they were willing, the market would meet their demand. The problem is homeowners don’t happen to want to live in that scenario. It’s more comfortable for them to have the city give away free street parking and over regulate apartment parking. Not because the economics are ideal, because the establishment happens to benefit.

So why can’t renters use the government to custom fit the rental market to suit them? It’s so hypocritical to have so much socialism to benefit homeowners but draw the line at helping anyone else.

Homeowners get free parking? Give the kids free college. Don’t give me any free market crap. You don’t believe in free markets.

60

@45 My mother was a landlord for 13 years. She owned the building, lived in one of the apartments and rented two, initially, and then turned one of the rentals into an expansion of her apartment and rented the third. She did this in New York state. Your assumptions about my knowledge and experience with rentals is merely speculation as you know absolutely nothing about me. I have been a lifelong renter, that is true. I have rented from people who owned the building and lived in the building (in Brooklyn, NY) and in Seattle I rented in buildings owned by RP Management and one other management company.

My mother owned her last two residences, one for 13 years and one for 7 years (she rented before that and owned homes before that). She is now retired and rents and I live with her (as I am disabled and she is my primary caregiver). She does not want to own again. We live in Oregon and the lack of regulation on rent is just as bad here is not worse than Seattle, the lack of housing is just as bad if not worse than Seattle, and the never ending bashing of the homeless and the poor is just as bad if not worse than Seattle. The one difference where we live is our landlord knows we are good tenants. We take care of our apartment as if we owned it. Our landlord is wealthy beyond all comprehension. Our rent has not been raised in the over in the years we have lived here.

Nowhere do I say that landlords should not raise the rent (though with a good tenant and a good landlord it can be done, I know so because my mother had a good tenant for over a decade and she did not raise the rent (in fact when changing tenants she lowered the rent so that a new tenant could afford to move in). My point is that if the average person gets a 2-3% raise in annual salary, how is a year over year (or every six months) increase of rent of 10% ore more remotely sustainable? And please spare me the BS about increase in costs because no landlord in Seattle is seeing an increase of costs of 10% year over year. And property taxes and costs in general for housing are exponentially more expensive in New York State (and New York City, which has its own tax) than Seattle, WA. The rent increases in Seattle are obscene and done purely out of greed, not need.

The fact remains that there is an extreme homelessness problem in Seattle.
The fact remains that there is an extreme housing shortage problem in Seattle (especially any kind of affordable housing for anyone who does not want to live in an apodment).
The fact remains that there is an extreme wealth gap that is becoming an ever more gaping maw that does not look like it will stop widening anytime soon.

Seattle has a completely unsustainable reality. It is not possible to not tax the wealthy, not have an income tax, continuously pass regressive taxes that make the poor poorer, not do anything to help people afford a place to live (either by managing rents or increasing wages, ideally both), not do anything about the half a million people living on the streets of Seattle, and expect anything to change for the better. It's completely delusional and deranged!!!

61

The Edmonds renter was a bad example. The woman lucked out that her house rent was so far below market rate for so long. The unfair thing for her was how much the rent went up. The increase was a shock, even though the increase brought rent up to market value. This woman and her family are going through what many went through the last decade in Seattle. The irony is displaced people from Seattle moved out of the city to more affordable places like Edmonds where you can still rent a 2BR house for $1,600/month. These former Seattleites in turn displaced the locals.

I saw this when the new apartment owner came in and jacked up rent by more than 30% and that was hardest for long term tenants who had been there for 15-20 years. People moved here long before Seattle was desirable back when things were affordable. Owners retired and their kids didn’t want to manage and sold the place. It was toughest for the older tenants because the neighbors were friends and they had a good community.

Seattle is a transient place now. Money rules. It’s not a healthy place to be. It’s best not to get too attached because it’s going to get way worse.

62

@56 thanks for the link. What do you know, an actual solution.

63

what is a good price point for rent for an unemployable junkie living under I5, shitting into a bucket?

64

Rent control never works. But a Landlords Association that is coordinating rent increases may well be a violation of state and federal antitrust laws.

65

@62, Tokyo has a population of 19 million. Greater Tokyo is 37 million. Tokyo is overpopulated. Seattle isn’t facing the same space density problem. It has a building cost problem and keeping rent high. Builders and developers are in this to make money.

Japan has a huge demographic shift in a tiny country.

Japan has an excess housing problem. Aging Japan has over 8 million empty homes.

Developers here of course would love it if Seattle removes constraints and safeguards to building and offer them more tax exemption and let them build anywhere. They just want to make lots of money.

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-data/h00460/empty-homes-in-japan-hit-a-record-high.html

66

My problem with "upzoning everything" is that when I look around at the new townhouses, apartments, and virtually all new construction in Seattle, I see the same thing: hideous cuboid architectural monstrosities clad in cheap plastic insulation board, garish colors, and the occasional vestigial wood cladding. None of this new construction is built as well as what it is replacing, and seeing the historic neighborhoods of Seattle gutted only to be replaced by this copy-paste architecture is devastating to me. These buildings are built to last maybe 30 years. Compare that to the houses they are replacing, on an average of one every day, which have lasted a century.

67

I'm more conversant in the realities in Chicago and NYC than Seattle, but I'll toss this out there. Rents in Manhattan and Chicago have not skyrocketed because there has always been the outer neighborhoods / boroughs and suburbs where less affluent live. Both cities also have entire neighborhoods filled with midrise housing (12 - 15 stories) as well as large swaths with high rise housing. I completely agree with several posters that this completely changes the feel of neighborhoods... perhaps Seattle should select some areas for taller buildings and significantly restrict it in others. In NYC, the Upper East and West sides are like that... charming streets with old brownstones, bookended by 20 story high rises at major intersections. You can have both.

68

@10 - exactly. That is the fundamental problem with rent control. And it not only doesn't create more housing, it creates reasons for people not to build more housing. If the City wants cheap housing, it ought to build some public housing.

69

Move to Portland Rich, this schtick goes over well there. Not Seattle, we're capitalist here, and rent control doesn't work. But you keep on thinking it does. That is the definition of insanity.

70

I'm a Seattle landlord--I rent out a single house in north Seattle. I try to keep the rent affordable, but it also needs to cover mortgage, property management cut (I don't live in WA anymore), maintenance costs, and property taxes. I don't make much of a profit on the house, and what profit I do make, I put into an account to plan for emergencies for that house or to cover times when it may be vacant.

I'm happy to have a rent increase cap if we also have a corresponding property tax cap. If taxes go up, the rent goes up. It's not difficult economics. But without a state income tax and with all the (let's face it, pretty wasteful and ineffective) city programs being footed by the homeowners, I don't know what's going to change. I may eventually have to sell the house, which, because of its location and age, will probably get bought by developers who will put up pricier buildings.

Sure, there are landlords who take advantage of their tenants, and that should be remedied, but having the city take advantage of its homeowners should also stop.

71

Whenever I read how much money someone needs to make to afford an apartment the assumption is there is one income. My daughter lives in a house with 4 other women and they share the rent and other expenses. When did we get so entitled that we think we can all live alone?

74

There are so many real world examples that all clearly show that rent control, or any price controls in a free market capitalistic system do not work, from trying to control the price of gas to rent or food, it never works and will create havoc and more pain and misery. The optimal solution has been stated alot in comments, those that are priced out have to take their resources and skills and move to a city that they can afford and enjoy. It is the law of supply and demand as well as a lot of other economic factors that add up to the need for a mobile population that moves where the opportunity is and affordable.

76

@1: FTW!

77

There should be rent control. There should also be the restoration of federal housing programs so that affordable residences exist for all in all localities. Why should living in the place you wish to live be a luxury for the rich? And why should we keep devolving towards the situation the "market values" crowd are trying to force the many into, in which everyone who isn't able to earn at least $100,000 a year ends up having to perpetually relocate to wherever work MIGHT be, living and dying as rootless, voteless economic migrants, existing solely for the profits of the few?

78

@24: that doesn't work, however, if "building new units" means renovicting people from existing semi-affordable housing and transforming the semi-affordable housing into luxury condos. I think we can all agree that Seattle and most other cities already have all the housing rich people and Amazonians will ever freaking need.