Important Update on Seattle’s Rent Control Trigger Ordinance

Posted By: Nick Marin Advocacy News, WMFHA Updates,

Important Update on Seattle’s Rent Control Trigger Ordinance 

WMFHA’s government affairs team has maintained a very watchful eye on Seattle City Councilmember (CM) Kshama Sawant’s rent control trigger ordinance, playing a significant part in the lobbying that has occurred behind the scenes. Now, it appears our group’s advocacy efforts (which includes not only staff but WMFHA members and several industry coalition partners) have delivered a temporary but disruptive blow to CM Sawant’s misguided and counterproductive proposal. 

On Friday, CM Sawant saw her biggest opportunity to garner political support for her proposed ordinance hit a major roadblock as she failed to secure a formal recommendation from the Sustainability & Renters’ Rights committee, of which she is the Chairwoman.  The vote went 3-2 NOT to recommend the ordinance out of the committee, with CMs Andrew Lewis, Deborah Juarez, and Sara Nelson voting against, and CMs Sawant and Morales voting for a recommendation.   

This was an important win for the housing industry and a sizeable setback for tenant advocates but, unfortunately, it’s not the end of the road for the proposal.  Despite the negative recommendation from the Sustainability & Renters’ Rights committee, it looks as though CM Sawant’s proposal will still be heard and put up for a formal vote by the Seattle City Council at their meeting on Tuesday, August 1st.   

In summary, CM Sawant’s rent control trigger proposal would: 

  • Freeze all rents for 18 months AFTER the state repeal on local pre-emption. 

  • Limit rent increases on all properties to no more than CPI (inflation). 

  • Exceptions include government owned and publicly subsidized housing options. 

  • No vacancy decontrol – cannot raise rents to market rate once a tenant moves out. 

  • Creates a complicated Rent Control Commission. 

  • 7 different district rent control commissions that would include 1 housing provider and 5 tenant/housing advocates on each. 

In response, WMFHA, in collaboration with our industry coalition partners, is currently heavily entrenched in a public campaign focused on ensuring this trigger proposal is not passed by the Seattle City Council, including the use of patch through calls and text messaging that will allow Seattleites the opportunity to contact their elected officials directly to voice their disapproval of the proposed ordinance.  

As housing providers, WMFHA members understand the detrimental and lasting effects a rent control ordinance would have to the housing market, future development, and to the citizens of Seattle…but it’s imperative that our local elected officials do, too.   

SHORTLY, YOU’LL BE ASKED TO ACT! An e-mail from Ryan Makinster, our Director of Government Affairs, will request that you send a pre-written e-mail to CM Andrew Lewis and Dan Strauss urging them to remain steadfast and say NO to the proposed rent control trigger ordinance! It’s imperative that both CMs hear from you – regardless if you’re a direct constituent, own or manage property in their jurisdiction, or are simply a concerned member of the multi-family industry! 

WMFHA’s GA staff is extremely grateful and appreciative of our members’ continued support, both financial and through personal outreach, as the never-ending legislative battles against multi-family housing providers, and our industry, wage on.