May 3, 2013 at 6:06 AM
Seattle’s low-income housing debate
Affordable housing is scarce because of strict regulations
Rachel Myers’ op-ed bemoaned the lack of affordable housing in Seattle [“Affordable housing is a myth for struggling King County families,” Opinion, April 28]. The “cures” were the same we always hear: Squeeze developers to sell below market, more government funding and prohibit landlords from turning away Section VIII applicants.
The next day, a Seattle Times editorial attacked an innovative-housing product and the entrepreneurs who are privately addressing the problem [“Seattle should impose controls on ‘aPodments,’” Opinion, April 29]. Why is low-income housing so scarce here?
Seattle smugly regulated the flop houses out of business with code stipulations that made housing low-income people prohibitive, throwing hundreds out on the streets. Is an indigent human being safer and better off getting drunk in some fleabag hotel or shooting up in a brier patch on Lower Queen Anne?
Every land use, insulation, lead paint, energy, sprinkler, plumbing, electrical, or anti-discrimination-code upgrade dissuades more owners from renting at all. Present landlord-tenant laws so burden property owners that getting rid of a bad renter is like pulling teeth. It involves lawyers, the sheriff and months on end while the tenant refuses to pay and trashes the place on the way out.
Jeffrey Howard, Redmond
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