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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
1/24/2007  2:01:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Brian Hawksford, Rasmussen office, 206-684-8808


TOM RASMUSSEN TO TESTIFY ON CONDO CONVERSION LEGISLATION
Consumer Protection and Housing Committee to hear Senate Bill 5031

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen will testify in favor of Senate Bill 5031 Thursday, January 25th at 8:00 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 3 of the J.A. Cherberg Building in Olympia.

State Senator Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle, is the sponsor of the bill being heard before the Consumer Protection and Housing Committee.

The legislation would increase protections to tenants who live in buildings that are scheduled to be converted to condominiums. The bill would provide the following improvements to existing state law:

  • Remove a $500 cap on relocation assistance for low-income individuals and allow local jurisdictions to set the appropriate assistance amount;
  • Lengthen the amount of notice a renter must receive (from 90 to 120 days);
  • Require the owner to provide tenants with relocation-assistance information as per the local jurisdictions ordinance(s);
  • Delay conversion construction until tenants have vacated their apartment. This will not preclude normal building maintenance.

Seattle and other Puget Sound jurisdictions have seen significant increases in condo conversions over the last two years. Councilmember Rasmussen has worked closely with Senators Darlene Fairley, Ken Jacobsen, and Brian Weinstein to explain the associated difficulties that tenants experience when the building where they live is converted. Condo conversions can be disruptive and costly to renters and often tenants have had to move because they cannot afford to purchase their unit.

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