City Hall

A Few Examples of Substandard Housing In Seattle

By Erica C. Barnett May 11, 2010

As noted in today's PubliCalendar, the city council's Committee on the Built Environment will consider legislation tomorrow to create an inspection program for the city's rental housing. (I've written about the details of that program here and here).

I just checked out the presentation the committee will see tomorrow, which gives a few examples of the kinds of rental units the program is designed to address. According to the city's Department of Planning and Development, a less-stringent state law passed with the blessing of both landlord and tenant advocates this year—which bars only housing that directly threatens tenant's health or safety--would not allow the city to deny a rental license to the owners of any of these units.

A tenant living in a downstairs space in between the walls of a house:

A room without a ceiling:

A crawl space "unit" with a dirt floor:

An apartment with the toilet in the kitchen:

I get that tenant advocates want to prevent the closure or destruction of low-income housing, but it's hard to see how anyone benefits from the preservation of units like these.
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