Tenants at 6511 Rainier Ave South have been living with cockroaches, mold, rats, broken heaters, and damaged electrical outlets.
Notorious slumlord Carl Haglund then tried to double rents and economically evict 13 households in order to avoid paying relocation assistance. Tenants reached out to Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and she immediately visited the apartment complex and began helping the tenants get organized. Together we held a press conference to expose these deplorable conditions.
At the press conference, we called for a public protest the following week at the offices of Carl Haglund. The afternoon before the protest, Haglund told the media he would back off from raising rents until the units were repaired. He also said he would refund October rent.
Later that week, the Department of Planning and Development inspected the building and found 225 housing code violations (PDF).
Among the more than 100 people that joined the protest were Councilmember Mike O’Brien, King County Councilmember Larry Gossett, members of the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA), the Seattle King County NAACP, the Transit Riders Union (TRU), Socialist Alternative, Stand Against Foreclosure and Eviction (SAFE), LGBTQ Allyship, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and Real Change.
Tenants and community activists issued the following demands:
- Carl Haglund needs to keep his word. He has promised October rent-free to the tenants at Charles Street Apartments. The tenants need to be returned their October rents urgently.
- The DPD requires that the 225 code violations be resolved by November 7, 2015. Haglund must meet that deadline.
- One of the tenants, Osman Osman, has received an invoice for $506 from Haglund for repairs. We need Haglund to send Osman a new invoice with a $0.00 balance.
- Haglund needs to resolve code violations that will be documented by the DPD in the coming days in other buildings he owns.
The following week, Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata held a press conference along with tenants to announce the "Carl Haglund Law" - legislation that make it illegal for landlords to raise rent while there are pending housing code violation.
Video of the full press conference and a transcript of Councilmember Sawant's remarks are available here. The legislation will come before the City Council later this year. Meanwhile, we will continue working to organize tenants across Seattle. We won't rest until we have housing justice for all renters in this city.
More photos from these struggles are available here.