Rep. Dufault, property owners fight back against rent control and increased housing costs

More than 100 people signed up to testify Friday in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee on three bills that take aim at rental property owners across Washington state.

Rep. Jeremie Dufault, assistant ranking Republican of the committee, warned this latest round of rental bills could add to the already high cost of rent, reduce the number of homes available for rent, and lead to more homelessness.

“We need to make sure we're not adding more layers of regulation to property owners less than six months after we just made the biggest changes to rental housing law in 40 years,” said Dufault, R-Selah. “If we're ever going to get ahead of our state's housing shortage and homelessness crisis, we need to ease pressure on property owners.”

“We've had to raise our rents several times in the past five years because they keep changing things to make it more expensive to be a landlord,” said Rick Glenn of the Yakima Valley Landlords Association. “We're just trying to provide our tenants with good housing.”

“Our communities are not like Seattle,” said Brandy Schwartz, president of the Yakima Valley Landlords Association. “Regulations that raise the cost of rental homes may be tolerated there, but they don't work in the rest of the state where incomes and costs of living are lower.”

The House committee room was filled with concerned citizens and a second overflow room in the Senate was opened for those who also came to the hearing.

“I'm really encouraged by all the folks who came out today to tell their stories and talk about the challenges of providing rental properties in places like Yakima, Spokane, or Everett,” Dufault added. “They are the experts of how we can all fight homelessness together and increase the amount of rental housing across the state. We need to listen to them.”

More information:
Watch: House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee | Jan. 24, 2020
Report: Washington should have built 225,600 more homes over past 15 years | Crosscut | Jan. 10. 2020

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov