"Spokane is behind other cities in
protecting renters from unfair business practices.
We need to strengthen protections
for renters of all ages and incomes."
Welcome to the final chapter of my short series about affordable housing.
Read the introduction, first and second sections at www.benstuckart.com.
Aiding Spokane Citizens with Renter Protections
Spokane has a significant number of citizens living in rental housing. Since the 2008 housing crash, we have seen many homes turned into rental properties by investment companies from California, Idaho, Seattle and other areas outside the city.
Our citizens are spending more and more of their dollars on rent. Renters are facing other hurdles as a few landlords look to capitalize on this crisis by forcing citizens into unfair rental agreements, major unscheduled rent increases, and even short-notice displacement of senior citizens. Spokane’s rental market has unfortunately been the ‘wild west’ for many years, and many of our most vulnerable citizens have suffered the consequences.
Spokane is behind other cities in protecting renters from unfair business practices.
The City held a series of forums earlier this year with renters and landlords to discuss potential policies that would provide stability and protection to both parties. Some common sense ideas I support include:
• Expanding the relocation program to include those displaced through economic hardship.
• Establishing a 30-day notice requirement prior to major rent increases.
• Adding Fair Chance Housing to the City’s other Fair Chance Policies to give citizens with a criminal history an opportunity to secure housing on their road to self-sufficiency and recovery.
There are other policies to strengthen the rental market in Spokane including a basic list of the properties available to rent, and the reasons why a lease can be terminated. We need to consider these as soon as possible. But most importantly, we need to establish basic stability for our citizens who rent housing. We should start first by replicating the rental protections of other Washington communities.
Please let me know what you think of my ideas on ways to help our community regain control of housing market.