Down the slippery slope of government’s unfettered, bureaucratic snowpocalypse.
It all began, like it always does, with a snowflake, then another, and another, until a flurry became a fury of falling snow bringing Seattle and environs throughout the Pacific Northwest to a standstill.
Greyhound stopped bus service, airlines cancelled flights, and Amtrak trains never left the station.
Fortunately, what began as a pretty white Christmas – for the entirety of Canada in fact – and in short order became quite messy, was only temporary.
Laws, not so much.
The “Snowpocalypse” as the December, 2008 snow storm became known, is akin to the flurries of activity planned for the upcoming legislative session in 2018 where, if State Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, is successful, Washington state’s ban on rent control, which dates to 1981, will end, essentially further burying landlords’ rights to free enterprise and exercise of constitutional self-government under what is becoming an avalanche of suffocating property-restrictive laws.
On June 6, 2016, David Kroman reported in “Crosscut” that landlords in Seattle would be “forbidden from raising rents until they bring their properties up to standards.”
Next up, then, or down depending on your perspective: “The next step in a forthcoming series of tenant protections laws: a bill to cap move-in costs,” Councilmember Kshama Sawant promised.
And now rent control.
And the danger of “enacting a rent-control ordinance,” ostensibly to address a temporary housing crisis? “Keeping it on the books,” said Zillow’s chief economist, Svenja Gudell, one of the experts who said rent-control ordinances may be effective but should be used only as a last resort.
When was the last time a law, once passed, was rescinded by the government when it was found, especially though profitable, no longer needed?
Lakewood’s (Washington) Mayor Don Anderson once said rent control wouldn’t happen here.
At the 22:38 minute mark of the July 5, 2016 Public Hearing on the Rental Inspection Program, which later (August 1) became the Rental Housing Safety Program law, Mayor Anderson said rent control was out of the question.
“What we’re not doing is we’re not considering anything that has to do with rent control. Those have not been and there is no intention to consider anything like that. In fact, we have a couple of lawyers up here who both have a fairly clear understanding that rent control is unconstitutional under the Washington State Constitution. We wouldn’t attempt that even if we wanted to.”
But if it were legal?
With Democrats in control of the legislature, a 60-day session beginning in January, rent-control advocates posting avalanche warnings in full view of the gathering storm, and “Lakewood’s program modeled after similar programs in other cities across the state that also have high percentages of rental properties” – like Seattle which is triggering the law’s collapse – will Lakewood’s landlords be caught up in the wash?
Like they’ve been with the passage of Ordinance No.644 mandating all landlords submit to rental inspections?