We applaud Representative Macri for committing to introduce legislation to repeal the ban on rent regulation. Housing costs represent the biggest economic burden people, especially people of color, women, people with disabilities, and people with low-income, face every month. Because of the steep rent increases many families face, we are in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis, with thousands of families facing homelessness. The percentage of students in the Seattle school district without a permanent address has doubled in the past five years – with as many as 20% of the student body struggling with homelessness at some schools.
Both Tacoma and Seattle have declared homelessness states of emergencies, but the current ban on rent regulation prevents municipalities from developing creative solutions to our housing affordability crisis. Landlord lobbying associations have weaponized the current statute to fight a wide variety of tenant protections, such as suing the City of Seattle over the Move-in Fee Reform Legislation. We need to ensure our communities have the ability to address the housing crisis in whatever ways they see fit.
The unregulated private rental market does not work for families. High rents force many families to move frequently, impacting education outcomes of children, especially children of color. Children are more likely to thrive in a consistent school community, where they have access to the resources and support they need. Moving around can set kids way back in terms of academic achievement and community and teacher support.
Housing instability is a huge barrier for students to overcome, and remedying the housing crisis would allow more children, in particular children of color, to have the opportunities they need to reach their full potential. Representative Macri’s push to remove the ban on rent regulation is the first step to ensuring that our communities are just, affordable, and thriving.