Council members Alex Pedersen (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and Tammy Morales (District 2, South Seattle and Chinatown/International District) reacted today to Mayor Bruce Harrell’s veto over their proposal to collect data regarding rental rates in the city of Seattle.
“I am truly disappointed that our plan to collect useful housing data to prevent the displacement of economically vulnerable people has not been enacted. Similar regulations to collect rental housing data are already in place across the country. , so the veto indicates that Seattle is still behind,” said board member Alex Pedersen.
“Revisions to our legislation have already addressed issues of timing, funding and implementation. Rejecting this order seems like a triumph for landlords reluctant to release data and a defeat for people looking for facts to make informed decisions about preserving and developing affordable housing in our city.
“Councilman Pedersen and I worked together on this bill because we believe the city needs solid data to help us make sound policy decisions. The crux of the matter is that we have no reliable source of statistics on average rents, rent increases, vacancy rates, or year-over-year trends in these areas,” the member said. of counsel Tammy J. Morales.
“Vetoing this bill means relying on a private, for-profit company like the now-closed Dupre + Scott. This option, which currently does not even exist, would offer us partial and optional data that would cost money each time we asked for it.
This veto sends the message that we should be making decisions in a vacuum, rather than making decisions based on data, and honestly, I find that troubling.
Mayor Harrell vetoed Council Bill 120325 passed by City Council on May 31, 2022. The law adds reporting requirements related to rent and rental unit information, such as prices and square footage squares, to the existing Tenancy Records Inspection Ordinance. The information would be submitted to a research university for analysis.
Had the mayor allowed the bill to become law, Seattle would have quickly filled the historic void in rental housing data needed for better-informed decisions about affordable housing.
Seattle’s Rental Housing Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) passed several years ago already requires landlords to submit a listing of their rental units and this bill would simply require landlords to include this list with rental rates and square footage of each unit at a research university. to compile and analyze this important data.
No personal information would be shared, executive departments would decide when to initiate proceedings, and the term would expire in December 2025.
Our city government lacks the level of detail needed to understand many details about Seattle’s housing stock over the past four years, including the extent of affordable housing that is unsubsidized but still has rents. below market due to the age of the housing stock, which some call “natural affordable housing”.
This bill implements the Council’s Statement of Legislative Purpose (OPCD-004-A-001), which was passed in November 2020, as well as the intent of Resolution 31870 to reduce displacement implications.
The University of California Urban Displacement Project prepared a report for the city’s Office of Planning and Community Development in July 2019 titled “Increased Displacement Risk Indicators for the City’s Equitable Development Monitoring Program of Seattle,” which states that “a more granular, localized dataset is needed to “best achieve the city’s racial equity goals.”
“Displacement can result from economic pressures (such as rising rents or loss of income), demolition of rental units for redevelopment, eviction, foreclosure, or the loss of community anchors that bind residents to a place,” according to the Seattle Market Rate Housing Needs. and Analysis of the offer prepared for the City in 2021.
When updating the overall city plan and land use policy and major zoning adjustments in the future, timely rental rates and location data for the existing supply of Seattle rental homes will be essential.
It is unclear how executive departments will receive the detailed data required by policy makers without this legislation.
The city council must decide within 30 days whether to override or uphold the mayor’s veto, pursuant to Article IV, Section 12 of the Seattle City Charter. A majority of six votes is required for a waiver.