On Episode 102 of The Overcast, Washington state Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, explains her proposal now gaining traction in the Legislature, and related efforts to offer renters some more protections.
Renters in Washington state can face eviction proceedings with as little as three days notice after failing to meet a payment.
With evictions a leading contributor to homelessness, some state lawmakers want to give renters more time to make good on payments to their landlords — saving families from the potential calamity of being tossed from apartments and into a cycle of couch surfing or living on the streets.
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Macri represents Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District, which includes neighborhoods that have seen massive rent increases in recent years, including Capitol Hill, downtown, South Lake Union, Eastlake, Fremont and the University District. She also works as deputy director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, which serves homeless people.
Her proposal, House Bill 1453, would extend the time tenants have to comply with a notice to pay rent to 14 days and give judges more discretion in eviction proceedings. That plan has drawn opposition from apartment-owner groups, who say new restrictions will force smaller landlords out of business.
Macri says she’s taking input from all sides, but believes lawmakers must act, pointing to studies showing many families can face eviction abruptly and over relatively small sums of rent owed.
“I honestly cannot think of any similar instance where a family can lose something that is so crucial to survival so quickly,” she says.
Macri says if lawmakers don’t get policy right around displacement and evictions — which disproportionately impacts women and people of color — “we will look back in 30 years the way we look back now and say I can’t believe those policymakers were complicit with redlining and discriminatory housing practices.”
The episode was recorded at the Seattle studios of public radio KNKX (88.5 FM), as part of an ongoing partnership.
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