Demonstrators at the Washington State Capitol in January called on lawmakers to pass a rent cap measure (detail). Photo Credit: Grant Hindsley for The New York Times

Society USA8. March 2024

Regulating Rent to Help People Keep Affording Their Homes

Should Washington, the United States, adopt statewide rent regulations, it would become the third state to do so, thus helping people secure the roof over their heads and stabilizing the housing situation.

Within the last five years, the states of Oregon and California have adopted rent regulations, capping residential rent increases to 7% and 5%, respectively, plus the inflation rate, setting the maximum to 10%. As for the state of Washington, it is aiming at a 7% cap plus the inflation rate.

Housing is one of the most significant statehouse issues in 2024. According to a new report produced by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the number of rent-burdened households – meaning that rent consumes more than 30% of their income – reached an all-time high in 2022 with 22.4 million. Rent regulations have long been under municipalities’ jurisdiction. Indeed, 200 local governments regulate rents, including New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The Washington bill is set to only apply to lease renewals. Landlords could increase at will whenever they are leasing to new tenants. As for new buildings, the restrictions wouldn’t apply for the first ten years of occupation so as not to discourage construction.

The New York Times

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