WA State Should Urgently Repeal the Ban on Residential Rent Control!



On January 17, 2017, I sent a letter to Washington State House Speaker Frank Chopp and the House Local Government Committee, calling on them to reject HB 1082, an unjust bill that would have prohibited multiplicities from enacting commercial rent control. Cities like Seattle, where small businesses and working families face skyrocketing rents, need to have the ability to address the serious unaffordability crisis.

Last week, I received this letter from Speaker Chopp, in which he affirms his opposition to the bill, stating that he has “directed the Chair of the Local Government Committee to take no further action on it.” I thank him for heeding the call of thousands of small businesses and worker-owned co-ops that need commercial rent control to stay afloat. This is an important first step in the effort to repeal the state ban on residential rent control.

Seattle’s housing justice and tenants right movement forced the City Council in 2015 to pass a resolution urging legislators to repeal the state ban on rent control. WA State legislators need to be accountable to their constituents, and urgently repeal the ban on residential rent control.  

I have sent the following letter to Speaker Chopp, thanking him, and calling on him to direct the Chair of the Local Government Committee to urgently introduce legislation to repeal RCW 35.21.830, the state’s ban on residential rent control.


January 23, 2017

Dear House Speaker Frank Chopp:

I am very happy to hear that you have directed the Chair of the Local Government Committee to take no further action on HB 1082. Thank you for taking this stand in favor of small businesses.

This is an important step toward heeding the call of thousands of small businesses and worker-owned co-ops that need commercial rent control to stay afloat. I hope it is also the first step towards finally repealing the deeply unjust ban on residential rent control, RCW 35.21.830.

All over our state, especially in cities like Seattle, hundreds of thousands of tenants are being forced to make hard choices to pay exorbitant rents just to keep a roof over their heads. As rents continue to skyrocket, more and more people are economically evicted and face longer commutes. Worse, many are driven into homelessness.

Housing is an internationally recognized human right, and this state law directly undermines local governments’ ability to ensure that seniors, low-wage workers, immigrants, minorities, and the disabled retain that right. With HB 1082 off the table, please now direct the House Local Government Committee to urgently introduce legislation to repeal RCW 35.21.830.

Sincerely,

Kshama Sawant

Seattle City Councilmember

 

CC: Members of the House Local Government Committee:

Sherry Appleton
Joan McBride
David Taylor
Dan Griffey
Mia Gregerson
Strom Peterson
Jim Walsh

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