On Thursday, September 17 at 9:00 AM at City Hall, the City Council’s Housing Committee will discuss the Rent Control Resolution introduced by Councilmember Nick Licata and me (more details on the event here). Passing the Rent Control Resolution would make it official policy that the City of Seattle wants Washington State to lift its undemocratic ban on rent control. It would be an important victory helping us to build our city’s affordable housing movement. Getting five votes to pass the Rent Control Resolution will not be easy! Please email Seattle City Councilmembers and Mayor Ed Murray urging them to support this resolution.
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Dear Seattle City Councilmembers and Mayor Ed Murray,
I am writing to urge you to support Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata’s Rent Control Resolution, calling on the Washington State Legislature to lift its undemocratic ban on rent control.
Seattle is facing an affordable housing crisis. Between 2010 and 2013, we had the highest rent increase of any major city, with rents going up by an average of $113 per month. Seattle’s households now pay more than $1850 in rent on average, and almost half of Seattle’s tenants are classified as “rent burdened.” The consequences are catastrophic – a recent nationwide study showed that homelessness increases by 15% with every $100 rise in rents.
To address Seattle’s affordable housing emergency, we need a comprehensive set of bold housing policies. We need an expansion of tenant rights, robust linkage fees to make developers pay more for affordable housing, and a program to build thousands of City-owned affordable housing units.
Seattleites should also be able to have a meaningful debate on whether some kind of rent control would be good for our city. We believe the state ban needs to be lifted immediately, so that Seattle’s working families can decide for themselves.
In April, more than 500 people attended an affordable housing town hall at City Hall. In July, over 1,000 people came to a debate on rent control. This shows that Seattleites are eager to talk about rent control as one potential solution to the affordability crisis. Politicians in Olympia should not be able to stifle this debate.
As Seattle’s elected leadership, I urge you to support democracy and bold solutions to our city’s housing crisis. Vote in favor of the Rent Control Resolution so that Seattle goes on record calling on Olympia to end its undemocratic ban.