Council Member Cathcart Supports Practical Rental Housing Ordinance; Urges Caution and More Thoughtfulness on Supplementary Ordinance

Shae Blackwell, Legislative Assistant,

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 7:58 a.m.

City Councilmember Michael Cathcart announced his support for a reasonable rental housing ordinance, C36330 (Council passed 7-0), on Monday. After months of co-efforts, Councilman Cathcart and Councilwoman Stratton worked together to elevate discussion, debate, and collaboration amongst various stakeholders including tenants and landlords. The new ordinance grants the City Administration the tools necessary to ensure rental properties in the City of Spokane meet existing requirements in our Code. The new ordinance strikes a balance between the needs of tenants and landlords, while working towards ensuring that rental housing in our community is safe and habitable.  

“Rental housing is a critical component of our city's housing market. This ordinance largely avoids new regulations but creates the necessary framework for the enforcement of existing habitability codes – many of which have rarely, if ever, have been enforced. This ordinance does so in a way that is fair to all parties, including tenants and landlords, by focusing only on the core concerns of habitable housing and doesn’t create unreasonable or undeliverable expectations,” said Councilmember Cathcart.

The City Council voted Monday night on a second, supplemental rental housing ordinance C36336 (Council passed 5-2) which was opposed by Councilman Cathcart. “I don’t believe this ordinance will be beneficial for rental housing in the City of Spokane. While there are certainly valid opinions on all sides of these issues, I believe that we must concentrate our very limited resources on the serious problems at hand.” said Councilman Cathcart. “Our goal should be to thoughtfully identify reasonable policies that work for everyone and that avoid harmful unintended consequences.

“I am absolutely committed to enforcing our existing laws while improving affordability and this should be our primary objective but the supplemental ordinance C36336 distracts us from these efforts.”

To avoid confusion, Councilman Cathcart encourages our media partners to specifically identify these separate ordinances by their individual numbers in media reporting.