Last week, Seattle City Council members drew attention to a South Seattle apartment complex at 6511 Rainier Avenue South where rents were scheduled to rise from $500/month to $1,500/month on October 1. This was on top of the fact that the apartments were in horrendous condition. Tenants all told the same story about landlord Carl Hagland, who bought the building over the summer for $975K: sign a new lease at a higher rent or leave. Raising rent a small percentage is understandable but such a huge increase could only mean one thing, that Hagland was forcing tenants out using a loophole in city law. The City Council closed that loophole Monday, requiring any landlord with plans to tear down a building to give 90-day notice and pay $3,255 in Tenant Relocation Assistance if the tenants are low-income households.
This isn't anything new for Hagland, who has been buying up South Seattle property and forcing out low-income renters for years. He responded to reporters with an extremely passive-aggresive statement, stating that "even though Columbia City Condos didn't let the building deteriorate, we take full responsibility moving forward as the new owners." He has also waived rent in October but added, condescendingly, "this should give them some time and money, should they understandably decide to relocate." Some City Council members still aren't impressed and plan to protest outside his office Wednesday.
· Tenants of run-down building: Owner said pay more or get out [ST]
· Families protest 'unlivable' conditions in Seattle condo building [KOMO]
· Seattle building owner responds to 'slumlord' accusation [K5]
· City Council closes loophole to protect tenants [SPI]
· Rail Lines Bring Housing Clashes [NYT]
· Pilloried Seattle landlord giving free month's rent [ST]