Speak Out on Landlord/Tenant Legislation!

Among CAPR Members there are private landlords, those who provide a variety of housing for rental.  Private landlords supply 97% of this country’s rental housing, yet they are among the most highly regulated private property owners adhering to law in land use regulation, and adhering to law in the heavily regulated rental and leasing market.  Landlords understand the need to protect tenants but also have a need to protect their investments in their properties all while continuing to provide affordable housing to many in Washington.

This legislative session the list of bills opposed by landlords are provided below with the rationale for opposition:  You can call 800 562 6000 and/or email your legislator to voice your opinion on legislation!

HB 2453/SB 6379 Providing protections to residential tenants. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2453&Initiative=false&Year=2019

“Statewide Just Cause”  Landlords may not refuse to renew leases.  If landlords don’t proffer a new lease between 90 and 30 days before the end of the old lease, it becomes month-to-month. Month-to-month agreements become one-sided (the tenant has sole discretion to leave with 20 day’s notice – or to stay indefinitely). It may become difficult or impossible to remove problem tenants.  A landlord may not deny new coresident (who may be screened) if requested by an existing tenant (this does not apply to subsidized housing). Penalty for Just Cause violation – 4.5 month’s rent plus atty fees and costs. Penalty for knowingly including a prohibited provision in a lease – 1 month’s rent or treble actual damages.  Penalty for not complying with a written request for return of tenant possessions – actual damages. If withholding was intentional – $500 per day up to $5000 plus atty fees and costs. A trustee sale gives occupants 20 days to move and tenants 60 days.

HB 2520 Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2520&Initiative=false&Year=2019

“Extreme Changes Regarding Security Deposits” Requires a landlord to provide at the commencement of a tenancy the age of fixtures and appliances, the date of installment and their life expectancy. Limits a landlord’s window for bringing small-claims action to 1 year. Requires a landlord to conduct move-out walkthroughs between 30 and 14 days prior to the end of a tenancy (the unit would likely still be furnished and the damage is often done during the move-out process).   Grants tenant the right to be present at the move-out inspection and requires tenant signature on move-out condition report for it to be legally valid (tenant may simply choose not to sign).

HB 2878/SB 6490 Addressing housing concerns for individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2878&Initiative=false&Year=2019

“Ban-the-Box”    Prohibits a landlord from requiring disclosure of criminal convictions. This prohibition applies to private landlords only – not to project-based landlords such as the Spokane Housing Authority. This creates a double standard for the safety of tenants with private landlords vs. those of public landlords.

HB 2779 Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2779&Initiative=false&Year=2019

“Rent Control”   Any year-on-year increase over 3% requires 180 days notice and would allow a tenant to terminate at will and prorated. No increase may exceed 10% or 5% above CPI (whichever is the lesser).  Places price and supply restrictions on housing supply in Washington State.

HB 2724/SB 6378 Concerning residential tenant protections.

“Additional Restrictions and follow-up to SB 5600” Requires a landlord to alter rent-due-date if requested. Removes a landlord’s 3-strikes pay-or-vacate notice exemption from judicial discretion. For up to 5 days after a judgment for restitution, a landlord must accept any pledge of payment from any emergency rental assistance source.  Requires Court Order showing stay of restitution for claims against the Landlord Mitigation Program. Takes immediate effect upon passage.

HB 2535 Providing for a grace period before late fees may be imposed for past due rent.  https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2535&Initiative=false&Year=2019

“No Late Fees Owed for the First Five Days after Rent-Due-Date”

HB 1694 Allowing tenants to pay certain sums in installments. https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1694&Initiative=false&Year=2019  

“Installment Plans for Deposits, Fees and Last Month’s Rent “  For fixed-term leases of 3 months or more, landlords must allow tenants to pay costs in 3 equal monthly installments (1 at move-in and 2 subsequent payments).  Month-to-month tenants may pay in 2 consecutive installments. The plan must be in writing and signed by the landlord and tenant.

February 7, 2020