Ordinance aims to make it illegal to increase rent on homes 'unfit for human habitation'

SEATTLE (AP) — An ordinance proposed in Seattle aims to stop landlords from raising rents for inadequate housing units.

The Seattle Times reports Councilmembers Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant introduced the idea Wednesday at a news conference. They want to make it illegal to increase rent on homes that are unfit for human habitation.

Mayor Ed Murray says the practice of raising rents on substandard units is something that must be addressed. He has directed staff to help refine the ordinance, which would be triggered by tenant complaints.

Under the proposal, a landlord could still adjust rent for market conditions but would have to make a unit habitable before doing so.

Landlord Don Taylor says council members are wrapping red tape around bad buildings, making it more difficult for them to be fixed up.