Back when we talked to Councilmember Lisa Herbold to look back at her first year in office and ahead to her second, the proposal for a citywide renters’ commission is one of the “what’s next” items she mentioned. The proposal went before a City Council committee for the first time today, and Herbold sent out this update:
Did you know that 53.8 percent of Seattle’s housing units are occupied by renters, and approximately 48% of residents in the city are renters? Renters are an important part of our city. The Affordable Housing, Neighborhood and Finance Committee held its first discussion on proposed legislation to create a Renters’ Commission this morning, March 3, 2017.
The proposal to create this Commission was first advocated for by Zachary DeWolf of the Capitol Hill Community Council. I am excited to join Councilmembers Burgess and O’Brien in responding to this proposal because we need to ensure that, as our city grows and changes, the renters’ voice will be heard as a part of our decision-making.
Some people have expressed concern that we are creating a special interest group. The City has 45 Boards and Commissions representing special interest groups. With so many people in Seattle being renters, it’s appropriate to have a commission committed to lifting the voice of renters. The formation of this Commission will not minimize the input of property owners; rather it will broaden the opportunity for more inclusive input from a significant portion of Seattle’s population.
The Renters Commission will represent a diverse set of renter voices from across the city. The Commission will be empowered to advise on a variety of issues ranging from transportation, land use and community development, to monitoring the implementation of the city’s new landlord tenant legislation, like Source of Income Discrimination and the Move-In Fees legislation, as well as watchdogging enforcement of older laws like the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance, Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Program, the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, and the Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance.
The AHNF Committee plans to vote on this legislation, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 9:30 am.
This was part of the councilmember’s weekly update, which just went out to her mailing list, addresses several other topics, and will eventually appear online at herbold.seattle.gov.