Rep. Mark Klicker issues statement on House Bill 2114 and why it won’t help Washington’s ongoing housing crisis

The Washington State House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 2114, entitled “improving housing stability.” According to the bill, it would cap the total percentage a housing provider can increase rent to 7% annually, and housing providers would have to provide 180 days’ notice of any rent increase.

It would also allow tenants to break their lease without consequences if notified their rent will increase beyond 5% and would limit late fees to 1.5% of the base rent. However, Republicans argue it will hurt renters in the long run.

Rep. Mark Klicker, R-Walla Walla, released the following statement regarding the bill and how Republican solutions would better address the problem now and in the future:

“House Bill 2114 has major implications for renters and housing providers alike. While proponents claim it will provide immediate rent relief to the people who need it the most, the truth is it would only have a minor impact now. Additionally, it would have a negative impact on rent prices for years to come.

“This legislation would hurt our efforts to make housing more affordable for the people of Washington. It would lead to rent increases because it would allow all housing providers, especially big corporations, to consistently raise their prices. It would also slow housing development and lead to less housing due to smaller housing providers having to sell their properties because they can’t afford to hold onto them.

“The bill does prohibit a housing provider from increasing rent during the first year of tenancy, but housing providers could raise rent fees annually after that. Due to an uncertain economic future, housing providers will be incentivized to use the maximum allowed increase of 7% yearly. Over a three-year period, your monthly rent will have increased by more than 21% and, in five years, by more than 40%. That’s significant! So, while you might save money the first year, most renters cannot afford those rate hikes for more than two or three years.

“If this bill becomes law, it will decrease the current housing supply, reduce housing development, and increase rents. Republicans offered several real solutions that would have had an immediate impact and provided stability for years to come.

House Bill 2033 would have created a rent relief incentive program for housing providers. House Bill 2453 would have created a housing gap voucher program, and my legislation, House Bill 2008, would have formed a legislative task force to analyze housing cost drivers. These bills would have fostered a more equitable and accessible housing market, leading to stability and opportunity for Washington residents.

“We all know we have a housing crisis in Washington and everyone wants to fix it. However, despite its best intentions, House Bill 2114 is not the answer. It will hurt Washington renters for years to come, slow new development and construction, and increase the cost of housing. We need to pass solutions that will help renters now, and in the years to come.”

The bill passed 54 to 43, with four Democrats joining Republicans in voting no. HB 2114 is now in the Senate scheduled for a public hearing on Feb. 22 in the Ways and Means Committee.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov