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Council News Release

3/15/2007  11:30:00 AM
Brian Hawksford, Rasmussen Office, (206) 684-8808

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen concerned about Seattle apartment tenants

SEATTLE Today, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen expressed dismay that proposed state legislation to help renters whose apartments are converted to condominiums was not permitted to be voted on by yesterdays deadline in the state Senate and the state House. Seattle is experiencing unprecedented loss of apartments and displacement of renters due to conversion of apartments to condominiums. I am very disappointed that the legislature failed to recognize the crisis and failed to give local government greater ability to help low income renters who must move, Councilmember Rasmussen said.

The proposed legislation would have helped low income renters with the costs of moving and would have provided more notice to purchase or move out of their apartments. Over 4,000 apartments or about 3% of Seattles rental stock have been converted to condominiums since 2004. The amount of rental housing declined by about 167 units in 2005-2006, contributing to low vacancy rates and rising rents.

The state law that controls condo conversions is out of date and needs to be changed to give local government the ability to respond to this crisis. The proposed legislation balanced the rights of property owners with need to help people who are impacted by the conversions, Councilmember Rasmussen added. I will continue to work to pass this legislation next year in Olympia.


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