Rents aren’t just rising in Seattle, they’re going up fast all across King County. That’s a big problem. Where are low-income renters supposed to go?
TRU and our allies in the Stay Housed Stay Healthy coalition are rising to the challenge and organizing to pass stronger permanent renter protections in multiple King County cities. Earlier this month, the city of Kenmore took a huge step forward. Check out this great article in The Seattle Times that highlights our work.
On Valentine’s Day, council members heard testimony from Kenmore renters and members of Stay Housed Stay Healthy, and devoted hours to discussing a long list of possible protections. They agreed to move forward with a number of them, including requiring longer notice of significant rent increases and capping move-in fees and late fees. Others they decided to study further. We expect a first piece of legislation to be passed later this month, and hopefully a second later in the spring. The Seattle Times article features stories from Kenmore renters and also one of the champions of our legislation, Councilmember Corina Pfeil:
“Several years ago, homelessness knocked on Corina Pfeil’s door. When her landlord raised her rent $300, Pfeil couldn’t pay, nor could she quickly find a cheaper place in Kenmore, where she’d lived for three decades.
‘I thought I was going to end up in a shelter,’ possibly separated from her older son, who was 18 and who has autism, she recalled.
That didn’t happen, thanks to a last-minute negotiation. But the upsetting incident stayed with Pfeil, who now serves on the Kenmore City Council and is pushing to pass a batch of new tenant protections. She still rents, in a sprawling complex tucked behind pine trees.
‘We have to be willing to take a hard look at the inequities in our community,” she said. “We’re a community with haves and have-nots.‘”
TRU and Stay Housed Stay Healthy will be working over the next few months to pass strong legislation in Kenmore, which will help to propel forward our work in other cities later this year.