Rent control passes House; Republicans warn partisan bill could result in less housing and higher rents

Republicans in the state House of Representatives voted early Tuesday evening against a bill they say will decrease the supply of housing in Washington while increasing rent.

House Bill 2114 is entitled “Improving housing stability.” But Kennewick Republican Representative April Connors, a residential real estate agent, warns the partisan measure is just the opposite and could force housing providers out of business.

“I fear that this policy is not going to fix the rental prices. I fear it’s going to drive up the cost of housing. And I fear that it’s going to hurt our most marginalized people.”

The bill would cap rental increases to seven percent annually. Olympia Republican Representative Andrew Barkis called it the wrong policy for Washington state.

“Remember Madam Speaker, you cannot have a tenant without a housing provider. Please vote no on this. Because if we don’t and it moves forward, you won’t have either.”

The measure passed 54 to 43, with four Democrats joining Republicans in voting no. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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