Rent Control Bills in Washington State

Washington House Bill 2583 (HB 2583) and Senate Bill 6400 (SB 6400), concerning local authority to address affordable housing needs through regulation of rent and associated charges, were introduced early in the 2018 session. These bills would permit local cities and counties to allow rent control on rented/leased residential properties as they see fit and would repeal the 1981 state preemption against rent control.

Hearings on both bills were conducted in their respective Committees and there was an abundant amount of testimony supporting and opposing the legislation. Proponents of the bill argued that it would give more affordable housing to low income tenants especially those living in the Seattle area. Supporters also spoke of the need to keep affordable housing in Seattle and rent control was one of the tools in the “tool box” to allow low income tenants to live, work and retire in Seattle.

However, Christy Mays, Legislative Chair for Western Washington and other IREM members testified against the legislation. IREM members from Oregon even attended the hearings in opposition to the rent control bills.

Neither of these bills were voted out of committee therefore, they are dead for the 2018 session unless they are amended onto another bill or placed into the budget, which is highly unlikely.

However, there is talk of reintroducing the legislation in 2019, when there may be greater support in the state legislature.

IREM will continue to work with the Washington chapter and Public Affairs of Washington, LLC, the Chapter’s lobbying firm to oppose the measure.

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