Rent Control Bills Dead in Olympia

Adapted from an email sent last week to supporters.
Some good news from Olympia.

Friday at 5PM was the cut off for policy bills to be passed out of committee. After many visits to legislative offices, emails, interviews, committee meetings, and debates we can say we won this first skirmish.

Both HB 2583 and SB 6400, bills that would have repealed the state’s prohibition on local rent control measures failed to get out of committee. For now, efforts to repeal the state ban are dead. 
But that probably won’t stop the Seattle City Council. 
Seattle has been a scofflaw when it comes to housing legislation, passing clearly illegal abutting lot legislation that was in plain violation of state law and case law on nexus and proportionality. That legislation, which required a development to go through full design review because of development on an abutting lot, was passed in 2016 and had to be abrogated by a court decision. The City argued that more new housing was a moral hazard, but lost anyway.
And the Council is also trying to tax income, even though it is not allowed by law.
Why not impose rent control and just let housing operators sue?
Councilmember Sawant has already proposed legislation to force pay outs to tenants when rents go up; something that is essentially rent control.
Councilmember Sawant will say, “Since Olympia couldn’t pass rent control, let’s pass it here on our own.”
We’ll respond the same way we did in Olympia: rent control doesn’t work and will only raise rents.
Will Sawant’s colleagues have the strength to stand up to Sawant and reject her proposal? Or will they continue a pattern of letting her lead on housing policy while they follow?
We’ll soon find out.
We must be prepared! 
Your support made our efforts possible and we’ll continue to explain to the community, voters, and people who support growth, that rent control doesn’t work. We’ll be in the media to be sure the facts about rent control get out.
Thank you for your help in this first and important step to standing up to rent control! On to the next fight. 

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