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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
2/10/2009  2:36:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lisa Herbold, Licata Office, (206) 684-5331
Dan Nolte, Clark Office, (206) 684-8802 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Sally Clark

COUNCIL TO CONSIDER REPORT ON RENTAL HOUSING CONDITIONS
Council-funded report explores options for improving rental housing conditions in Seattle

SEATTLE The City Council will discuss a Council-funded Rental Housing Inspection Report by consulting firm Cedar River Group at its Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee on Wednesday, February 11 at 9:00 a.m. The presentation, which will be led by Cedar River Group representatives, will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The report, which evaluates the effectiveness and costs of rental inspection programs in other jurisdictions, explores recommendations for possible implementation in Seattle. Options include licensing or regulatory models that bring unsanitary and unsafe dwellings into compliance with established standards, as well as a proactive housing inspection program that targets buildings known to have serious code violations. Also under consideration are improvements in the existing complaint-based housing code inspection program, and strengthening Seattle laws intended to prohibit property-owner retaliation against renters who file housing condition complaints under the Citys current complaint-based inspection program.

Councilmember Nick Licata, who commissioned the study as Council President in 2007, said, I am optimistic about the potential of this study to move the Council closer to identifying next steps for improving the health and safety conditions in some of Seattles rental housing.

Councilmember Sally Clark said, The recommendations for improvement highlighted in the report can make a real difference for people. Overwhelmingly, Seattles landlords are conscientious and responsive to resident concerns, but a very few negligent, sometimes abusive owners refuse to respond to the most basic of tenant needs. Squalid rental housing conditions are a menace, and that should not be the case."

The Cedar River Group formed its recommendations after interviewing members of the Rental Housing Association, the University of Washington Student Government, the Tenants Union of Washington State, and other organizations.

Archives of previous meetings, news releases and copies of legislation are available on the Councils website at www.seattle.gov/council . Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live at www.seattlechannel.org/viewer_live.asp . Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Kimberly Reason, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at kimberly.reason@seattle.gov .

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