Rent Increases in King County
In April 2020, Governor Jay Inslee amended Washington State’s initial eviction moratorium to prohibit landlords from increasing rents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for over a year, tenants were protected from rent increases, as well as from many kinds of evictions. However, when the state eviction moratorium protections were lifted, rent increases were no longer prohibited. Without statewide rent control protections in Washington, tenant advocates are concerned that landlords might try to recoup financial losses they might have experienced during the moratorium, or could attempt to economically evict tenants, through unaffordable rent increases.
At the end of October 2021, we began asking tenants calling the Housing Justice Project hotline if their landlord has given them notice of a rent increase, and if so, how much of an increase. We will continue to update this report periodically, as more tenants call our hotline and report rent increases.
How much are rents increasing?
Tenants are reporting an average increase of $273 (from $1383 to $1656) - an average increase of 20%.
With the minimum wage in Washington State at $13.69, tenants would have to work nearly an additional 20 hours a month to be able to afford this high of an increase.
Where are rent increases happening?
Most tenants reporting rent increases are in Seattle, followed by Kent, Auburn, Federal Way, and Renton, respectively. These cities, predominantly in South King County, have a larger concentration of BIPOC residents than other areas in the county. They also historically file the most evictions.
Renton tenants reported rent increases that, on average, are greater than the overall average of rent increases reported by HJP clients throughout King County.
Who is experiencing rent increases?
55.8% of renters reporting rent increases are female or non-binary, genderfluid, or two-spirit; 59.3% of renters reporting rent increases are BIPOC.
The average rent increase for BIPOC renters is $278- $36 more than the overall average rent increase amount and $32 more than the average rent increase reported by white renters ($242).
What is the impact of rent increases on evictions?
In the coming months, we will be tracking how rent increases might affect evictions based on nonpayment of rent. We do know that, in general, eviction filings based on nonpayment of rent are increasing, as eviction moratoria expire. In June 2022, there were 113 filings based on nonpayment of rent, up from 92 in May and 57 in April 2022.