Stories about tenants being priced out of their apartments are beginning to feel too familiar: An older apartment building trades hands, then the new owner imposes huge rental increases on tenants, some of whom are on fixed incomes or have been paying below-market rents for years or decades.
Such a story graced the front page of The Seattle Times this week and metro columnist Danny Westneat vehemently reacted to the news.
While the story of an owner of a nine-unit apartment building more than doubling rents is shocking, it doesn’t represent the larger picture of Seattle’s housing market.
Rents rose about 18 percent in Seattle during the past two years and about 16 percent in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma Census area, according to apartment research firm RealFacts.
Despite the dramatic rent increases, Seattle remains relatively affordable. In addressing the issue of housing affordability, it’s more important to think about how to protect vulnerable tenants versus cursing landlords who want to maximize their revenues, which is in their right as business owners.More