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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Rental help is needed

By Mark Muenster, Vancouver
Published: May 23, 2024, 6:00am

Anyone who is paying attention (or who has been following The Columbian’s many recent articles) knows that Vancouver, like many Washington cities, is having a housing crisis. There simply is not enough affordable housing.

Our 49th Legislative District House representatives supported a bill which would help with this problem by the means of rent stabilization, which would place reasonable limitations on the amount a landlord could raise. This bill, HB 2114, passed the House but was torpedoed when it came over to the Senate, in part through the opposition of Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver.

On the second-to-last day of the legislative session, well beyond the cutoff dates for bills to be heard in committee or voted on, Cleveland introduced SB 6321, a bad bill that undoes existing protections and prevents new ones in the future. This bill would do nothing to protect tenants from excessive rent increases and would raise the standard late fee significantly — making renting more expensive and more precarious for both residential tenants and manufactured-home owners. Sen. Cleveland’s “late arrival” bill would definitely not aid in solving the problem of homelessness in Vancouver, or anywhere else in the state.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter