Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Will Washington State end Ban on Rent Control?

HB 2583 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would repeal Washington's preemption against rent control, allowing local cities and counties to enact rent control on rented/leased residential properties, including manufactured housing communities.

Bills must be passed out of committee by February 6th to move forward. A list of judiciary committee members is included below. Please contact them with your thoughts as soon as possible.
Following are some rent control facts.

Rent control decreases the housing supply 
  • Developers choose to build de-controlled new homes, condominiums, office buildings, or simply not to build at all, investing funds elsewhere. 
  • Berkeley and Santa Monica both lost rental housing stock over the first decade of rent control. Berkeley lost 3,941 units (14%) and Santa Monica lost 2,443 (8%). 
  • Between 1960 and 1967 in New York City, the inventory of "sound" housing grew by 2.4 percent, but the "dilapidated" inventory grew by 44 percent and the "deteriorating" inventory grew by 37 percent. 
Rent control decreases low income tenants 
  • Rent control hurts single mothers. Single mother households decreased in both Berkeley and Santa Monica by 24% and 27% respectively. 
  • Low-income tenants—including students, elderly, and disabled persons, and those receiving public assistance—are displaced by people who can pay substantial "finder's fees" and who are more attractive as tenants. 
  • The number of low income households decreased in both Berkeley and Santa Monica while the number of high and very high-income households increased. 
Rent control reduces the quality and upkeep of apartments
  • A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. 
  • Landlords must let unit quality deteriorate so the controlled rent reflects actual market price or they cannot afford the unit. 
  • Rent controls discourage new construction, cause abandonment, retard maintenance, reduce mobility, generate mismatch between housing units and tenants, exacerbate housing discrimination, create black markets, encourage the conversion of rentals to condos, and generally short-circuit the housing market. 
Rent control decreases housing turnover and misallocates housing 
  • Rent control creates an incentive to stay in the same apartment, which leads people to remain in the same apartment even if their tastes and conditions change. 
  • Tenants apply for or remain settled in apartments that do not well suit their needs simply because the apartment carries a low price. 
Rent control increases unemployment and decreases worker mobility 
  • Rent control decreases the mobility of the labor force by making tenants reluctant to move from a rent-controlled apartment. 
  • The inefficient use of time and resources associated with extended commutes, leads to a decline in the quality of job matches for residents.

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