Skyrocketing rents are forcing thousands of renters to move out of their homes, sometimes every year as rent increases of 10%, 50%, and higher become increasingly common.
The Affordable Housing Alliance is working to build a movement of tenants to fight for massive investment in publicly owned affordable housing, and rent control. We are also organizing to pass a law to provide assistance to tenants facing economic eviction. Tenants who have to move because their rent increases by 10% and who earn less than 80% AMI should receive at least $3,500 in relocation assistance. Share your story about why we need economic eviction assistance here!
To win, we’re going to need to build a powerful movement. Will your organization endorse the Affordable Housing Alliance and the fight for economic eviction assistance for tenants by signing this draft letter to elected officials? If you want to sign on or have any questions, contact me at email@example.com!
Dear Mayor Murray and Seattle City Councilmembers;
Seattle continues to become less and less affordable to working class, middle class and poor people. Both rents and the costs of homeownership continue to rapidly rise out of control.
In the absence of any rent control, many households are being pushed out due to extreme rent increases, not infrequently 25%, 30%, or even more than doubling. In other words, they are being economically evicted from their homes and neighborhoods, and pushed out of Seattle or into homelessness.
Economic evictions are now a factor in gentrifying neighborhoods throughout Seattle. The most severely impacted are communities of color, the LGBTQ community, and working-class families as a whole. Census data already show people of color making up a declining portion of Seattle’s population in this epoch of skyrocketing rents.
Seattle has some protections for tenants facing eviction: The Just Cause Eviction Ordinance limits the reasons why a renter can be evicted, and the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance provides for $3,490 relocation assistance to low-income tenants who have been evicted to make way for remodeling or redevelopment of their homes. But there are no protections for renters effectively evicted by extreme rent increases.
We will need rent control to protect against economic evictions, and we will continue the fight to overturn the Washington State law banning it. However, in the current absence of rent control, we demand local officials pass an ordinance to provide relocation assistance to protect tenants facing economic evictions, similar to the protections for tenants who are evicted in the case of redevelopment.
Moving is very expensive. People need to rent vans, take days off work, search for a new place to live, find the money for security deposits — not to mention the social and personal impacts of moving against one’s own wishes.
For these reasons, we urge you to pass an Economic Eviction Assistance Ordinance to require landlords to provide $3,490 relocation assistance to below-median-income tenants (up to 80% of Area Median Income) any time renters are forced to move due to rent increases in excess of 10%. Most landlords do not irresponsibly raise rents more than 10%, and instead they raise rents in a way that does not force their renters to move. Those landlords would not have to pay anything. The Economic Eviction Assistance Ordinance is designed to meet the needs of tenants, not to punish responsible landlords.
Elected officials have a duty to do everything in their power to make Seattle an affordable city for all its people. Seattle’s working people have built movements for $15/hour, for tenant protections, and for taxing the rich. However, the city’s housing crisis continues to worsen. We demand the Mayor and the City Council pass the Economic Eviction Assistance Ordinance and support efforts to overturn the State ban on rent control.
Sincerely,[Your Organization or Representative]