Rent Control bill SB 608 passed out of committee, headed to full Senate floor for vote
On Monday, February 4th the Senate Committee on Housing passed SB 608 out to the full Senate floor after nearly four hours of live testimony. No amendments were considered. SB 608 would establish annual caps on rent increases at 7% plus API. It would also severely limit End of Tenancy "no-cause" terminations and institute tenant relocation payments in qualifying scenarios.
Multifamily NW Executive Director Deborah Imse testified against the bill explaining "economists have studied rent control and rent stabilization throughout the country, and the data show that where rent control or stabilization have been implemented, the results have been higher rents and fewer rental units overall. The evidence shows SB 608 will not help solve the problem of housing affordability. It will actually make the problem worse."
In a change from previous attempts by the legislature to enact strict housing laws, for SB 608 other landlord associations have taken a neutral position on this bill citing that owners of 4 or less rental units would be exempt from the relocation payment requirement. Considering the lack of housing industry solidarity, and the zeal that both the Senate and House leadership have for this bill, it presents a formidable challenge to preventing the unintended consequences of these policies.
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