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Rent control bill appears to have died in Washington State Senate

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(The Center Square) – After weeks of contentious debate and rallies on the Capitol steps, a bill to slow rising rents in Washington state appears to have died in the Legislature.

House Bill 2114 would put a 7% cap on the amount most landlords could raise rent for current tenants each year. It would also cap fees and late charges for tenants. That policy would not apply to new buildings.

On Monday, the Senate Ways & Means Committee was expected to vote on the bill, but after going into a closed-door meeting, Chair June Robinson, D-Everett, said the bill would not be getting a vote.

With no Republicans supporting the bill and several Democrats also opposed, it was unlikely to have enough support to move ahead.

During a public hearing last week before the Senate Ways & Means Committee, more than 100 people signed up to testify both for and against the measure.

Deb Wilson, president of Leisure Manor Tenants Association in Aberdeen, urged lawmakers to pass the bill.

“We are homeowners, we pay rent on the dirt under our homes and our park owner has continued to raise rents yearly, from $485 in 2021 to $750 in 2024,” she said. “Without rent stability now, a tsunami of elderly, disabled and bedridden individuals is headed your way.”

But landlords and property owners told lawmakers the measure would worsen Washington’s housing shortage.

Ian Randall, representing Seattle Grassroots Landlords, cited a December 2023 Seattle City Auditor report that showed the city lost more than 7,000 rental properties since 2019.

“What’s clear is Seattle is trading single family homes, typically two to three bedrooms, for studios and 1 bedroom units in large complexes,” he said.

The demise of the HB 2114 in the Senate came after it passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 13 mostly along party lines. The bill could be brought back again during the 2025 legislative session.