King County Council approved an ordinance last month to establish a King County Renters’ Commission in an effort to give renters a stronger voice with their elected leaders and county departments.

“As inequality grows in this region, it is the Council’s responsibility to ensure that renters’ rights are protected, and their voices are elevated,” Councilmember Larry Gossett said.

The addition of the commission will vitally provide a voice for those renting in unincorporated King County, who cannot bring concerns to a city council.

“The King County Renters’ Commission gives renters the vehicle to strengthen their role in unifying their voices to create and advocate for policies that will benefit renters, especially those in the unincorporated areas of King County,” Councilmember Gossett said.

A recent study conducted by Isaac William Martin and Kevin Beck, sociology professors at University of California San Diego, stated that low-income renters are nearly twice as likely as homeowners to be displaced by gentrification. The study was published by Urban Affairs Review and was listed under the statement of facts in the King County Council’s legislation text.

Since nearly half of all King County households rent their homes, rental issues are a priority for many of the county’s 2 million residents.

“As we move forward as a government and representative body of the people of this County, it is imperative that we continue to bring new voices to the table – especially those voices that have traditionally been left out of the process,” Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles said.

Seven members will be appointed to the commission, who will monitor enforcement of existing laws, look for opportunities to improve those laws, or advise creation of new ones. The group will also develop an annual report, including recommendations on improving affordability with a focus on unincorporated parts of the county.

To review the ordinance in its entirety, visit this website.