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tacoma measure 1 will hurt renters, providers

Tacoma Measure 1 Will Hurt Small Housing Providers, Renters
Tacoma Measure 1 presents an existential threat to rental housing providers in the City of Tacoma as it poses risks which will be too costly to bear for many, particularly small housing providers. Small “mom and pop” providers are much more likely to provide single-family rental options for families who are not ready to buy a home. Those housing providers cannot afford to lose rental income for up-to 10 months due to eviction bans protecting non-paying renters, or pay thousands in relocation fees when a renters who chooses to move upon receipt of a rent increase.

Housing providers have already endured a near 3-year period during COVID where rent increases and evictions were banned, driving many housing providers out of the industry and removing homes from the rental stock.

Hidden Costs
The City of Tacoma cannot afford to implement Measure 1 and its hidden costs to taxpayers, which includes mandates to build more bureaucracy and incur other legal fees. If Measure 1 is approved by voters, its terms cannot be changed for a full 2 years after it takes effect. Tacoma cannot afford to lose two years of housing providers at a time when housing supply and costs are reaching a critical point for many families in the city.

Balanced Solution Already In Place
Thankfully, this past July, Tacoma City Council took a responsible and balanced approach to protecting renters in Tacoma while ensuring that housing providers can remain in the business. The tenant protections created resulted from a 2-year process with vested stakeholders in the City of Tacoma. Those protections include:

  • 120 days’ notice of rent increase to allow renters plenty of time to plan ahead
  • Capping move-in fees to no more than one months’ rent
  • Capping pet deposits to 25% of one months’ rent, and removing pet breed restrictions

Below is a summary of specific policy issues found in Measure 1 which pose problems for housing providers and will lead to a decrease in housing supply and accessibility for renters in the City of Tacoma.

Supply and Demand

  • REALTOR® members understand that the same forces which drive For-Sale housing costs – supply and demand – are what influence the cost of providing rental housing.
  • If passed, Measure 1 will force small housing providers to sell out of Tacoma.
  • Small housing providers typically offer single-family and 2-4 unit rentals which provide more space for families.
  • Less housing choices, resulting from units being sold, means less housing stock and higher prices for rental housing.

o   In researching single-family home options in Tacoma, example after example show that single-family rental homes are 15% or more cheaper than buying the same home with 20% down ($85,000 on a $425,000 home).

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