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Four bills will be sent to the Governor for signature

March 4, 2020

Legislative Update

The final score is 16 - 4! The final four bills passed out of the House and Senate last night and will make a final pass through their house of origin before being sent to the Governor's desk for signature. I will report the date which each bill goes into effect after each bill is signed into law by the Governor.

During the 2020 legislative session, on behalf of NARPM, I managed sixteen proposals directly affecting property managers and property owners. Of those sixteen proposals, ONLY four of these proposals passed both the House and Senate; all others have been defeated - including statewide Just Cause, Rent Control and Ban on Criminal Records.

The legislature has 8 days remaining before the last day of the regular session and all business of the legislature must be concluded by 5:00 pm on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

BILL SPONSOR TITLE Companion STATUS
HB 2520 Thai Deposit return, move-out process and documentation N/A DEFEATED
SB 6490 Darnielle Preventing use of criminal records in tenant screening N/A DEFEATED
HB 2779 Macri Rent control, 180 day notice for rent increase N/A DEFEATED
HB 2453 Macri Just cause, roommates SB 6379 (Kuderer)

 

DEFEATED

ESB 5165 (Saldaña) - Discrimination based on immigration or citizenship status

Effect: The effect of this law is that a housing provider cannot require a social security number on a rental application, or provide different terms and conditions to a prospective resident if that resident does not maintain United States citizenship.

Discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status is an unfair practice and violates WLAD. A person or entity may make a distinction or treat someone differently based on citizenship or immigration status only if a state or federal law, regulation, or a government contract requires it. An employer, potential employer, labor organization, or employment agency commits an unfair employment practice if it discriminates against a person based on their citizenship or immigration status. A person or entity discriminates in a real estate transaction by refusing to sell or rent to someone who makes a bona fide offer, or
refuses to negotiate for the sale or rental of a dwelling based on their citizenship or immigration status, subject to specific exceptions. Any person, their employee, or agent who excludes or overcharges at any place of public accommodation based on someone's citizenship or immigration status commits an unfair practice.

 

ESHB 2535 (Kirby) - Providing for a grace period before late fees may be imposed for past due rent

Effect:  This bill provides tenants with a five day grace period before a late fee is charged. When rent is more than five days past the due date, the landlord may charge a late fee commencing on the first day after rent is due, until paid.

No rental agreement may provide that the tenant pay late fees for rent this paid within five days of the rent due date.

Landlord may serve a notice to pay or vacate at any time after rent has become due.

Tenant may request , in writing, to change the rent due date up to five days after the rent due date in the rental agreement, if their monthly source of income is government assistance that isn’t received until after the date rent date in the rental agreement.

EHB 1694 (Morgan) - Allowing tenants to pay certain sums in installments

Effect:  This bill allows a tenant to request in writing to pay move-in cost (deposit, fees and last months’ rent) in installment payments, as follows:

Rental agreements for a term of less than three months:

Tenant may pay move-in cost in two consecutive and equal installment payments with the first payment due at move-in.

Rental agreement for a term of three months or longer:

Tenant may pay move-in cost in three consecutive and equal installment payment with the first payment due at move-in.

A landlord is not required to allow an installment payment option when the deposits and fees do not exceed 25% of the first full months’ rent AND last month’s rent isn’t required.

Holding fees are limited to 25% of a full months’ rent and may be applied to either the first months’ rent or deposit (RCW 59.18.253).

A landlord may not charge any fee, interest or other cost because a tenant elects to pay in installments.

Installment payments are due at the same time as rent is due.

The installment schedule must be in writing and signed by the landlord and tenant.

Penalty: Beginning January 1, 2021 any landlord that deny the tenant’s written request for an installment payment option, may be liable to a statutory penalty of one months’ rent payable to the tenant.

Landlord Mitigation Program (LMP): A tenant who fails to make their installment payment, may be evicted by a court. If a court finds the tenant is low-income, limited resources or experiencing a hardship the landlord may apply for reimbursement through the LMP.

ESSB 6378 (Kuderer) (HB 2724 – Macri) - residential tenant protections

Effect:  Technical changes. To avoid opening up this bill to other changes that could be more harmful, we are not suggesting any amendments.

  1. Changes to the notice to pay or vacate
    • Adds Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR hotline with weekday hours
    • Adds www.washingtonlawhelp.org
    • Removes cash as a payment option. Landlord may refuse to accept cash.
    • Requires payment pursuant to the rental agreement
  2. Changes to the Summons
    • Adds Northwest Justice Project’s CLEAR hotline with weekday hours
    • Adds www.washingtonlawhelp.org
  3. Claims submitted to the LMP require an order staying writ
  4. Restores three strike language back to 5600
  5. Restores attorney fee language back to 5600
  6. Prohibits a landlord from threatening eviction if the tenant doesn’t pay charges other than rent
  7. Requires a landlord to accept emergency rental assistance funds
    • Before the notice to pay or vacate expires
    • After the notice to pay or vacate expires if the pledge contributes to or pays the notice in full, including any new rent and cost incurred.
    • Landlord must suspend any court action for seven days to allow for payment of emergency funds.

 

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LandlordSolutions does not provide legal advice. The information we provide is general information for landlords. If you need legal advice or have questions about the application of the law in a particular matter, you should consult a lawyer.

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