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County councilmember proposes study to understand rental housing supply, costs in unincorporated King County

If passes, study would attempt identify the effects of regulation on rental market.

On Monday, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that, if passed, would require a study of the effects of regulation on rental housing supply, demand, and costs in unincorporated King County.

“I have heard from many small landlords and renters across my district who have very real concerns with how government policies may be exacerbating the lack of affordable rental housing supply,” Dunn said. “This study would help policymakers understand the effects these regulations have on housing market dynamics and on the people who rely on the availability of rental properties.”

If approved, the legislation would ask the County Executive to produce a report that identifies the number of rental properties in unincorporated King County, calculates the average cost of these properties – including the past and future trend of rental pricing, and analyzes the supply and demand of rental housing.

This study would explore how regulations, such as new rental regulations approved by the King County Council in June 2021, impact the local housing market. When the now-approved rental regulations were heard at the King County Council in June, many small landlords testified about their serious concerns that increased burdens may make it necessary to raise rents or sell their properties altogether in order to make ends meet. For this reason, Councilmember Dunn voted against the increased regulations and sought to exempt mom and pop landlords.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest Household Pulse Survey, covering the first two weeks of September, nearly 150,000 households in Washington were “not at all confident” that they would be able to pay their next month’s rent, 57,000 occupied their space without paying, and over 500,000 used 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 Community, Health, and Housing Services Committee to be heard in the coming weeks.


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