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Following double-digit increases in rental housing costs,

Following double-digit increases in rental housing costs, Councilmember Reagan Dunn proposes study on the effects of regulation on rental market in King County

Today, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that, if passed, would study the effects of regulation on rental housing supply, demand, and costs in unincorporated King County. Dunn’s legislation follows a report released yesterday by Apartment List that found that the cost of rental housing in several cities within King County increased by a range of 14.8% to 20.9% over the past year.

“My fear is that the slate of recent government interventions purported to help renters is actually hurting them by exacerbating our lack of affordable rental housing,” said Dunn. “This study would help policymakers understand the effects that these regulations have on housing market dynamics, and on the folks who rely on a healthy supply of rental properties.”

The report that would be produced by the County Executive and would identify the number of rental properties in unincorporated King County; calculate the average cost of these properties; analyze the supply and demand of rental housing; and study the trend of rent pricing over the last five years and the next five years.

The reported increase in rental housing costs comes after new rental regulations were passed at the King County Council in June 2021, at which time many small landlords expressed serious concerns during the Council’s public comment period about how these new policies would force them to sell their properties, reducing rental supply and raising rental costs. Councilmember Dunn was an active opponent of these regulations because of the harmful unintended consequences, he perceived they would have on renters and landlords alike.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, nearly 150,000 households in Washington are “not at all confident” that they will be able to pay their next month’s rent; 57,000 occupy their space without paying; and over 500,000 use short-term loans or credit debt to cover their monthly payments.

This legislation will be introduced at the next Council meeting and referred to the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee to be heard in the coming weeks.


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