One of the most pressing issues facing Federal Way is access to safe and affordable housing for everyone who needs it.
Initiative 19-001 takes our community in the wrong direction by jeopardizing safety, driving up rent costs, and reducing the number of apartments and homes for rent.
It puts criminal rights ahead of victims’ rights by allowing an offender to live next to their victims and removing any discretion from housing providers.
It prevents the removal of dangerous and disruptive residents and forces neighbors to put up with criminal activity and bad behavior. That is wrong. Residents deserve to feel safe in their own homes.
I recently spoke with a young single mother fearful to take out the garbage in the evening due to harassment by a man that had stopped her several times since she moved in. He was so aggressive that the incident frightened her child.
As a housing provider, it’s my responsibly to help ensure residents feel safe and welcome in our community. In cases like these, having the ability to not renew the lease of a bad apple is important for the safety and security of all the neighbors.
If 19-001 passes, we lose that last resort option and there would be no recourse for this young woman and others like her.
Initiative 19-001 also imposes new, costly, and burdensome layers of regulations that will drive up rent costs and result in fewer rental options in our community.
This is what’s happening in Seattle, where a recent University of Washington study showed new laws like Initiative 19-001 have reduced the number of rental homes. If we are truly facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis we can’t afford policies that will make housing more scarce.
Federal Way already has strong protections available for renters and families, and recent reforms at the state level have strengthened tenant rights even more.
Further, landlords do not want to evict residents and termination of leases is always a last resort. In fact, the latest annual data shows there were only 171 evictions in a city with 96,690 residents. This initiative is a special-interest driven “solution” in search of a problem that will actually make housing access worse.
Initiative 19-001 makes our neighborhoods less safe, it increases the cost of rent, and it reduces the number of available units for rent.
Vote no on Initiative 19-001. It makes things worse.
Lindy Harvey is a resident of Federal Way and has been in the rental housing industry for 35 years. She is currently a senior vice president with Edison47, a multifamily rental housing provider that provides apartments at all price points.