October 2, 2023

EDB Board votes to oppose proposed rental housing regs

City of Tacoma’s Citizens’ Initiative Measure No. 1 on the Nov. 7 General Election ballot would place new requirements and restrictions on landlords of rental housing units. The EDB Board of Directors met on Sept. 22 and had a robust discussion of this issue and ultimately voted to oppose the measure.

Discussion centered on several concerns:

  • There are two particularly onerous provisions of Measure No. 1:
      • It would prohibit landlords from evicting non-rent-paying tenants for as long as six months.
      • It would require landlords to pay relocation fees to evicted tenants.
  • The unintended consequences of this measure would include:
      • Problem tenants who create an unhealthy living environment (e.g., drug use, unsanitary conditions, etc.) would place a huge burden on their law-abiding neighbors if they are not evicted.
      • Landlords, many of whom are mom and pop businesses operating on thin margins, may pull their buildings off the market, thereby decreasing rental supply.
      • Lenders may stop financing new rental properties or refinancing existing properties because the risk is too high if landlords cannot evict problem tenants.
      • Tacoma and Pierce County already face a severe rental housing shortage. This measure would mean fewer units on the market and drive up prices for remaining units.

Why this issue is important to our economic development work

If employers do not see the availability of housing for their employees, they will restrict or stop their investment in our community. Measure No. 1 will cast a pall over our housing supply and impact on our ability to retain and recruit companies.


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