As Alaska Democrats in the Legislature attempt to limit the amount that landlords can charge for deposits, their counterparts in Washington State are capping rent increases in the state to 5% per year. They are also going to place limits on deposit fees, just like a bill offered in Juneau by Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson-D, of Anchorage.
Alaska Democrats have at least three bills that limit the rights of property owners: Gray-Jackson’s Senate Bill 169 puts the most restrictions on landlords that any state has currently, although Washington’s latest Democrat bill may compete for that spot.
House Bill 184, by Rep. Andrew Gray, would limit Alaskans to being able to own just one short-term rental unit. Sen. Forrest Dunbar also has a bill that would force short-term rental owners to rent to Alaskans; currently some do not rent to Alaskans because of the problem with partiers destroying property.
Washington’s push to cap rents will receive pushback from Evergreen State Republicans, but there are not enough of them to stop the bill from reaching the desk of Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee.
Before the bill goes into law, critics expect to see a rash of rent increases from landlords across the state who will be attempting to set a new baseline. Rent control in Washington State has not been legal, but this will make it like California, where landlords cannot raise rent more than 10% total or 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living – whichever is lower – over a 12-month period.
The City of Seattle has an ordinance that says tenants are entitled to 60 days prior written notice for an increase 10% or more in a 12-month period. That ordinance will have to change with the expected passage of the new state law.
According to the website RentCafe.com, the average rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,267 for a 688-square-foot apartment.
Washington’s House Bill 2114 also caps late fees and move-in fees, and will prevent landlords from charging different rent amounts to people who don’t sign year-long leases but instead rent month-to-month. This will effectively kill the leasing of rentals in Washington, and add more risk to property owners.