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‘Fraught with unintended consequences’: Dunn slams proposed rental regulations, seeks to exempt small property owners


King County Vice Chair Reagan Dunn issued a statement ahead of a major vote on a new package of rental regulations that is scheduled for Tuesday at the King County Council.


King County Vice Chair Reagan Dunn issued the following statement ahead of a major vote on a new package of rental regulations that is scheduled for Tuesday at the King County Council:

“Ultimately, these regulations will push out housing providers, reduce the number of affordable rental homes, and raise the rent for everyone, especially families. It would cause far more harm than good. Over the past year and a half, King County has committed nearly $200 million in rental assistance to prevent evictions but this new approach of shifting that burden onto mom and pop landlords is fraught with unintended consequences, hurting both tenants and housing providers alike.  Rents will surely rise.”

To help retain small rental property owners, Dunn will offer an amendment at tomorrow’s Council meeting that would exempt housing providers who own four units or fewer.

At the June 15 meeting of the King County Council, small rental property owners provided over two hours of public testimony, speaking to the hardships these new rental regulations would cause for both renters and housing providers. Concerns included the need to retain the ability to perform tenant screening, the difficulties of accurately forecasting rent increases over four months, and their inability to pay their mortgages and property taxes if a tenant fails to pay rent for many months, or legal fees if an eviction is taken to court.

The proposed rental regulations would make sweeping changes to landlord-tenant contracts, including new restrictions on when a lease can be terminated, lower caps on move-in and late fees, and adjusts the timing of rent payments and pay or vacate notices. These regulations would affect housing providers who own property in unincorporated areas of King County, including rural and suburban communities in Southeast King County, Greater Maple Valley/Cedar River, and 4 Creeks/Tiger Mountain.

King County recently launched an Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance Program that covers up to one year of rent payments for renters who are unable to make the payments themselves. To date, the King County Council has approved $191,200,000 in financial assistance to renters and housing providers to prevent evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, with another $49.6 million pending approval in King County’s upcoming emergency COVID-19 supplemental budget. In addition, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee last week extended the existing eviction moratorium, which was previously scheduled to expire on June 30, until September 30, 2021.

The King County Council will vote on the new rental regulations on Tuesday, June 29.

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