March 16, 2021
King County Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Girmay Zahilay put forward a "transformative tenant protections package" headlined by capped move-in fees and new ‘just cause’ eviction criteria.
In addition to adding the just cause requirement – a significant factor in avoiding a wave of individuals and families losing their housing once temporary protections triggered by the COVID -19 pandemic end – the proposal would add a series of protections for tenants in unincorporated King County, including:
- Cap move-in, security and other fees and deposits and allow incremental payment
- Require landlords to give up to 4 months’ notice for significant rent increases
- Prohibit rent hikes in unsafe or unlivable housing
- Allow tenants to adjust rent due date if they live on fixed income
- Add protections against eviction over late rent
- Prohibit landlords from requesting Social Security number for pre-rental screening
Landlords who violate any of the new protections would be liable for damages in court.
As part of the new legislation, the Executive would set up a central phone number for tenants to report suspected violations and would have to create an outreach plan to educate residents about the new protections.The legislation would take effect 90 days after full council approval.