Does Senator Pedersen Support or Oppose Rent Control in Seattle?

If I were a political consultant here’s the answer I’d advise a Seattle politician to give on the question of rent control if they wanted to win election and preserve some of their intellectual integrity on rent control: “I oppose rent control on the basis that it simply doesn’t work to lower prices for rental housing, however, I do think that whether rent control gets imposed is a local decision best left to local governments.” 

Then I’d take a shower. 

The fact is that one is either for or against rent control whether it is debated and imposed by the state or local government. It is bad policy. But good policy and politics are two very different things that sometimes overlap and sometimes don’t. Senator Jamie Pedersen is walking this line between policy and political reality on rent control. So we wrote him a letter urging him to oppose efforts to repeal the State preemption on rent control proposed in House Bill 2583

January 12, 2018

Senator Jamie Pedersen
PO Box 40443
Olympia, WA 98504

Dear Senator Pedersen,

Today at 7PM the Seattle Channel will air a discussion between Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and myself. In the lead in segment you suggest that you are against rent control rightly saying that it doesn’t work, suppressing housing supply and thus aggravating housing inflation. However, you said you were supportive of HB 2583, which repeals the State’s preemption of imposition of rent control by cities.

It is our view that if HB 2583 becomes law, it virtually assures that the City of Seattle will do exactly what you said it shouldn’t: pass a rent control measure. In 2015 the City Council passed Resolution 31620 supporting

Efforts by the State Legislature to allow local governments to propose ordinances that significantly increase the supply of rent restricted units and that protect tenants from sudden and dramatic rent increases. . . by modifying or repealing RCW 35.21.830 (emphasis mine).

A majority of the Seattle City Council is on the record supporting rent control as well. Therefore the repeal of RCW 35.21.830 in HB 2583 would ensure that the Seattle City Council would move ahead with rent control.

Seattle For Growth works on behalf of builders, developers, and people who own and manage rental properties. We are for more housing supply, and more housing means more housing opportunity and lower prices for people who need housing. Rent control is not the answer. Just today the Seattle Times reported that in your own district more supply is helping prices.

We’d urge your public opposition to HB 2583 and keeping the preemption in place because it is the best guarantee to prevent rent control in Seattle.


Roger Valdez

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