After many months of organizing, tenants from the Charles Street apartments have won a huge victory for tenants living in slum-like conditions. This new law would halt rent increases in apartments with violations of existing city laws such as repair issues. Tenants in the Charles Street apartments were referred to the Tenants Union from Firesteel to form a tenants association and organize against rent increases in the building. And, boy, did they organize! With the help of the Tenants Union, tenants held demonstrations, press releases, and reached out to local media to demand an inspection by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection and a solution to the unhealthy living conditions in their homes. Tenants were fortunate to receive a month of free rent from the landlord, but the repairs still look months and many extensions. Many of the tenants were still displaced from the apartments due to the rent increases – they were legal.
Introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, this new ordinance would have stopped those rent increases and kept the tenants in their homes. We’re incredibly thankful for the passage of this ordinance, and we’re even more thankful for the efforts of tenants and community members to make this issue known. Click here for more information about the law, when it goes into effect, and read commentary from Councilmember Kshama Sawant about the need for this tenant protection.