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Seattle City Council OKs rule for 6 months' notice of rent hikes

A for rent sign in front of an apartment building in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson
The Associated Press file
A sign points toward a building holding tiny apartments in Seattle.

Seattle landlords must soon provide six months’ notice of rent hikes and, in some cases, pay tenants who move following a large rent increase.

The Seattle City Council approved two bills on Monday. They are the latest of new landlord-tenant regulations including bans on some evictions and the right to a lawyer for low-income tenants facing eviction, The Seattle Times reported.

Councilmember Kshama Sawant sponsored the proposals, saying they will help “to mitigate the harm that is going to be experienced by renters because of skyrocketing rents.”

Property owners argued the measures could push small-scale operators to sell their rentals.

The council approved a bill requiring 180 days’ notice of rent increases with a 7-1 vote. Landlords are currently required to give 60 days’ notice for rent increases.

Councilmember Alex Pedersen voted no, saying the bill should exempt landlords with a small number of properties. Councilmember Debora Juarez was absent.

The relocation assistance bill passed unanimously.

That bill will require landlords to pay equal to three months of rent for low-income tenants who move after rent increases of 10% or more.

During public comment Monday, most speakers spoke in support of the new laws.

“I’ve moved eight times in 10 years and this is because landlords keep raising my rent a crazy, exorbitant amount,” said Heather Steiner.

Landlords argued the bills amounted to rent control.

“Each of these bills is excessive in every way,” said landlord MariLyn Yim.

After a brief reprieve during the pandemic, Seattle tenants are again seeing rents go up.

For tenants signing new leases, Seattle rents this month are up 12% from the same time last year and have surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to Apartment List.

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