• Seattle council members seek to protect tenants from rent hikes


    SEATTLE - Two Seattle City Council members will propose a bill on Wednesday that would strike back at landlords who hike rents in order to drive tenants out.         

    Some people who live at a South Seattle apartment building at 6511 Rainier Avenue South cried foul earlier this month when they were told their rents we're going to skyrocket from $550 a month to more than $1,100 a month.

    For years, tenants at the building said they have remained quiet about the horrible living conditions -- broken windows, crumbling ceilings and walls and mold. Some units don't even have heat.

     The city came in and found 225 code violations there. The landlord, who just bought the building last summer, said he didn't know the conditions were that bad, and is working with the city to fix the violations. Read the owner’s response to our earlier story

     But Seattle City Council members Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant are proposing a new bill to penalize landlords if it's found they raised rents to get rid of low-income tenants without helping them relocate.

    At a recent rally, Sawant praised the South Seattle renters for stepping forward.

    Sawant and Licata also want the city to get better at policing the condition of the city's apartments.

    In response to the problems at the South Seattle building, the landlord has waived rent for October, but still plans to raise rents when the violations are fixed. 

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