Washington News Service: Housing is a major issue in this year's legislative session -- and for some, simply staying in their home is the goal. One measure in Olympia would help stabilize rent prices for tenants.
In the first half of 2023, more than 6% of Washingtonians were forced to move because of rent increases.
Deb Wilson lives in a manufactured home park in Aberdeen. In 2021, monthly rent on the land at the park was raised from $485 to $635. That was a huge increase, Wilson said, especially for people on fixed incomes, and led to drastic changes in lifestyle for some.
"They eat less meals per day, they don't buy all their medication or they take less of their medication," she said. "They don't get to travel. So, we're just sitting here waiting for people to dump dirt on us and bury us because we're just waiting to die."
House Bill 2114 would limit rent increases to 5% over a 12-month period and require landlords to give at least six months' notice if the rent increased by 3% or more.
Opponents claim the measure could actually limit housing supply because developers might be less inclined to build in the state. But Wilson said the bill could keep people in their homes, adding that if an increase is too much for someone, at least they would know what was coming.
"We would be able to prepare, to take our house and put it up for sale, to move our things to storage or sell them at a yard sale -- something," she observed.
She believes rent stabilization is an important way to keep people housed.
"If you don't want a humongous amount of homeless people, you need to keep people that are homed right now homed," she said.