City of Tacoma considers renters bill of rights amid skyrocketing rent prices

TACOMA, Wash. — The city of Tacoma is considering changes to the rental code that would provide greater protections for tenants. These alterations could limit landlords’ ability to evict and charge fees. The city of Seattle already has certain provisions in place to help tenants.

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards is not prepared to comment on the proposal. However, she is passionate about increasing access to affordable housing. According to the mayor, over the last three decades, rent prices in the city of Tacoma surged by 40%.

Local renters KIRO 7′s Lauren Donovan spoke with were intrigued by the idea of a tenant’s bill of rights. Debbie Potter says in the last four years, her Tacoma rent has only inched up $50. However, she has plenty of friends that feel priced out of the city.

“For me, it’s the income requirements,” said Potter. “You have to pay three to four times what the rent is.”

Tami Greenway has managed western Washington properties for over a decade now. Greenway cautions the city of Tacoma in replicating the system Seattle’s put in place.

“I don’t think following the city of Seattle is anywhere near the right answer,” said Greenway.

Greenway said she has firsthand experience with Seattle renters that have taken advantage of limitations on evictions.

“We see that every single day, at every single property,” said Greenway. “People have stopped paying rent for three to four years, but they are working and they’re driving these really nice new cars and agencies are just paying their rent.”

These changes to the rental code is still under consideration, and the city is taking public comments from renters and landlords online. You can weigh in here: Rental Housing Code (TMC 1.95) - City of Tacoma.