Seattle rent control legislation rejected in committee on 3-2 vote

21 July 2023

Seattle’s rent control proposal is heading to a full council vote with a “do not pass” recommendation from the Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee.

Only two members of a council committee voted for the idea this morning, while three voted against the measure. Washington state has prohibited cities, like Seattle, from implementing rent control policies since 1981. The bill would only go into effect if Washington’s statewide ban on rent control is lifted.

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“Our rent control bill limits rent increases on any rental home throughout the city at any moment to no more than the annual inflation rate,” Councilmember Kshama Sawant said during the committee meeting Friday. “Winning this trigger law here will absolutely put enormous pressure on the state Democrats like it’s never been on them before.”

Sawant is sponsoring the idea, stating she wants legislation in place in case the state Legislature makes rent control legal at some point in the future.

City Council President Debora Juarez said she voted against rent control because state legislators are refusing to overturn the law against it.

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“I’m not saying we give up, but I’m going to continue to keep lines of communication open with my state reps,” Juarez said.

Juarez also claimed the Seattle City Council has gotten repeated messages from state lawmakers that they will not reconsider allowing rent control.

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