Seattle City Council Votes Down Rent Control

The Seattle rent-control bill failed in committee by a vote of 3-2, but will now go to the full city council in August, according to reports

The Seattle City Council voted down a rent-control bill that would have allowed rent control in the city if the state lifted the ban on rent control, according to reports at

The council voted 6-2 against it. One of the two members who voted in favor of the bill is its sponsor Kshama Sawant.

The bill proposed the creation of rent-control provisions, regulations against rent increases, and establishing a board to authorize exceptions. It would have capped the maximum rent increase based on annual inflation rates.

“According to the real estate industry’s own figures, the shortage of apartments is not the problem. The problem is the shortage of affordable housing,” Sawant has said.

Sara Nelson was among the six council members who voted against the proposal.

“I’m concerned that this proposal will decrease existing housing supply because rental revenues won’t keep pace with increasing maintenance costs and property taxes which will result in housing providers either just selling their properties or converting them into condominiums,” Nelson told King5.

Washington state law must be repealed

The bill sponsored by Sawant was a trigger law.

If it had passed, the bill would have gone into effect in Seattle only if the Washington state law RCW 35.21.830 was repealed. The current law prohibits rent-control regulations, stating that “no city or town of any class may enact, maintain, or enforce ordinances…which regulate the amount of rent to be charged.”

The legislature convenes for a new session in January, when it could again consider proposals to allow local rent control measures.

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