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Urging all WLA Members to Electronically Sign in Opposition or Sign in to Testify Virtually to OPPOSE SB 5096
Sponsors: Senators: Robinson
By Request: Office of Financial Management
STATUS SB: Senate Ways and Means Committee
Hearing: Thursday, January 14 at 4:00 p.m.
§ To Sign up to Submit written testimony,
§ Testify virtually in Opposition of, or
§ To Provide opposition to be noted for the legislative record, click here.
Please also contact the members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee
urging them to OPPOSE SB 5096
Senate Ways & Means Committee Members - PDF LINK
Note: Member Contact Info is located on page 2 of the attached PDF
Please take action right away!!
Hello WLA Members:
For your general information, the 2021 Legislative Session begins January 11th and adjourns Sunday, April 25th.
To download this email as a PDF please click here
To download more information about accessing the legislature click here
Meetings with Legislators
Meetings will be held virtually this year primarily over Zoom (Legislators will also be using Microsoft Teams to conduct caucus meetings). These zoom meetings will mostly be the usual 15-minute intervals as they would in person, but some may run longer or shorter. If you are participating in a scheduled meeting, please be block off 30 minutes to provide a logistical cushion to maximize our time with the Legislator and accommodate their busy schedules. Brevity will also be crucial to ensure we get all our priorities heard and answer any questions the Legislator may have.
How to Watch Committee Hearings
TVW has committed to continuing their partnership with the State of Washington to broadcast all committee hearings and Floor activity. We will provide updates, summaries and notifications regarding important hearings but below are links to view them on your own:
Committee hearing information can be found here
Watch online at: www.tvw.org
Testifying During Committees
With the Capital Campus restricted to only a handful of state employees and Legislators attending these meetings virtually, folks wishing to testify will need to do so remotely. Remote testimonies have been used sparingly over the past few years in certain designated off campus sites such as colleges, community centers and other public places. This year the Legislature has taken away restrictions on where a person can testify.
How to Register to Testify Remotely
1. Select the committee and meeting date and time, then select the bill for which you would like to testify remotely. The link to testify is here.
2. Select “I would like to Testify Live During the Hearing.” Remote testimony registration will close 1 hour before the start time of the hearing. Anyone who does not register before this deadline will be unable to testify before the committee.
3. Ensure your registration information is accurate. It will be a part of the legislative record and used by TVW for online and television graphics.
Additional Information about Testifying
· Those who register for remote testimony will be emailed a Zoom link to the meeting upon registration. Each link is unique to the registrant. Registrants are prohibited from sharing links.
· You may participate via videoconference or phone. See instructions on how to connect to the meeting.
· There is no guarantee that those who register to testify will be allowed to speak or be able to speak at specific times. You may be required to limit your comments.
· Maintain proper meeting decorum, including waiting to be acknowledged by the Chair before speaking and following rules for testimony established by the Chair.
· Committee and technical staff may not be able to address any connection or technical issues you may experience before or during the committee meeting.
Anyone who fails to follow the rules for testimony established by the Chair may forfeit their opportunity to testify. Legislators are being asked to follow in person dress codes and decorum while virtually attending these meetings, we recommend you do the same when testifying remotely.
Commenting on Bills
The best way to comment on a bill is direct communication with your districts’ legislators. If you have a good relationship with them and have their cell, text and calls are the most effective. If you do not have their cell phone number or feel like you have a close enough relationship to call, then email their office. You can find their contact information here. We recommend sending it to the Legislator but also cc’ing the Legislative Aide.
Lastly, there is also a process to comment on a bill over the Legislative website which you can do here. These are sent to Legislators but don’t always get seen by every Legislator as their staff usually screens these comments and may not prioritize those comments.
How to Submit Written Testimony When a Bill has a Hearing:
1. Select the committee and meeting date and time, then select the bill for which you would like to submit written testimony. The link to submit written testimony is here.
2. Select “I would like to Submit Written Testimony.” Written testimony will close 24 hours after the start time of the hearing.
3. Provide your written comments in the form. Your comments will be sent to legislative members and staff of the committee and will be included in the legislative record for bill and meeting archival purposes but will not be used as part of testimony summary materials on the bill report.
Virtual Day in Olympia
Normally a day in Olympia would mean a whole day spent with as many Legislative meetings we can schedule, a lunch with keynote speakers, a possible reception and so much more that isn’t logistically possible in this year’s session. We will continue to have meetings scheduled that day virtually, but we could choose to focus our efforts on two main events: A virtual Legislative lunch and a virtual Legislative reception.
A virtual Legislative lunch could have a format that follows open attendance during the noon hour, with a keynote presentation and possible speaker for 10 minutes at a scheduled time during the hour (12:30pm). Prior to the presentation as Legislators enter, we would introduce them and after the presentation we could open it up to questions members may have for the Legislators.
A virtual reception could be very similar but in a more relaxed setting where we could encourage fun drinks and snacks. We would likely have the same presentation (hopefully with different legislators in attendance) and perhaps play an interactive game like trivia or something else to engage Legislators.
Campus Security Update
With recent events at our nation’s capital and here on our Olympia capital campus we would like to share the information given to the Third House during a phone call with the head of Senate Security. As you already know this is a “Virtual” session for 2021 and it will present many challenges for all. Security at the campus will be the maximum level with emphasis on the first two weeks. Here are the main issues shared during the call.
1. The only entrance to the campus is a security check point on Sid Snyder Drive.
2. Only Legislative employees with I.D. will be able to enter the campus. This was emphasized “No I.D. No Access” to the grounds.
3. All building entrances will be physically guarded for entry. All key card access has been disabled at this time.
4. All “Visitor Parking” is closed. This if for the entire campus, east and west.
To summarize the message from security was, stay home for your own safety and the safety of others. We know this session is going to be difficult for all of us.
Chester Baldwin, Lobbyist
Prohibits landlords from terminating or refusing to renew a rental agreement for "no cause" until 2
years after expiration of any public health emergency unless landlord intends to sell the property
or occupy the property as personal residence and at least 60 days’ notice provided as form signed
under penalty of perjury
Presumes any "no cause" termination notice issued to a tenant for any unpaid rent that accrued
between March 1, 2020, and [Gov eviction moratorium exp. date], is a reprisal or retaliatory action.
Prohibits a tenant’s right to possession of dwelling unit used primarily for residential purposes to
be conditioned on satisfaction of any rent that accrued between March 1, 2020, and [Gov eviction
moratorium exp. date].
Prohibits landlords from treating any unpaid rent accrued between March 1, 2020, and [Gov
eviction moratorium exp. date], as an enforceable debt or obligation that is owing or collectable
within an action for possession of the rental property.
Authorizes tenants adversely impacted by COVID-19 to terminate their tenancy upon a 20-day
written notice, which includes a statement that termination of tenancy is due to COVID-19
Prohibits landlords from assessing any penalty, early termination fee, or any other amount
on a tenant who elects to terminate their tenancy for their failure to continue their tenancy
for a predetermined amount of time.
ability to occupy a rental dwelling.
to, prior or current exposure or infection to the COVID-19 virus.
necessary to evaluate a reasonable accommodation request or reasonable modification
request under RCW 49.60.222.
Penalizes landlords up to four and one-half times monthly rent with court costs and attorneys’ fees
Requires landlords to first offer tenants before any collection action a repayment plan consisting of
monthly installments dependent upon the months of back rent owed and accrued between March
1, 2020, and [Gov eviction moratorium exp. date]
litigation if the tenant defaults on the agreement, or a requirement that the tenant apply
for governmental benefits or provide proof of receipt of governmental benefits
plan or defaults on repayment plan
Replaces the show cause hearing within any RLTA unlawful detainer (UD) action with a required
mediation session between the parties before any trial is scheduled.
Prohibits issuance of a writ of restitution before a trial on the pleadings otherwise.
Authorizes parties to seek discovery respectively before the hearing.
Prohibits application of provisions requiring the judge to amend the UD complaint at trial if other
tenant offenses found not related to those in original complaint.
Right to Counsel
Requires landlords to inform tenants of their right to counsel and to a court-appointed counsel at
the mediation session or trial if indigent.
Requires courts to appoint counsel at the mediation session and at any scheduled trial.
Requires state to pay costs of right to counsel legal services subject to amounts appropriated.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Creates a new emergency rental assistance program with Commerce designed to reimburse
landlords for claims of unpaid rent and utilities.
Clarifies that program funds must be used for rental assistance for X months of back and/or future
rent, utility assistance, and administrative costs.
Provides following prioritization for receipt of funds: landlords with no more than 4 units; landlords
with 5-100 units; and all other landlords.
Requires the following conditions for receipt of funds as part of an affidavit signed under penalty of
Requires landlords to waive any remaining rental arrears if program funds reimburse at least 80
percent of FMR rate of claim amount, and waive any other monetary claims for other fees/charges
Prohibits access to program and/or requires denial of claim if landlord commits fraud.
Creates affiliated, appropriated account.
Prohibits pro se agreements between landlord and tenant pursuant to an eviction action in which
tenant agrees to pay more than statutory judgment limits, amounts other than rent to retain
tenancy, or any tenant rights under judicial discretion or RLTA.
Prohibits dissemination of mediation sessions if they fail to resolve dispute between the parties
Limits dissemination of eviction actions due to nonpayment of rent resulting from COVID-19.
Requires landlords to pay the balance of a UD filing fee after the mediation session or before the
trial on the pleadings.
Removes prohibition on judicial discretion eligibility if tenant received three or more pay or vacate
notices within previous 12 months.
Declares an emergency.
To voice your opinion on the draft, you can contact the Senator and her staff.
Provided below is their contact information:
Senator Patty Kuderer's email Patty.Kuderer@leg.wa.gov
Also provided is her assistant's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also provided is a link to her website with additional contact info: Contact - Sen. Patty Kuderer - Washington State Senate Democrats (wastateleg.org)
To Download a PDF of this summary, please download the PDF below.
Also included is the full bill of the Eviction Reform.
(please see 2nd PDF attachment below for the full bill.
WBPA Challenging Governor’s Eviction Ban, Demand Small Housing Providers Be Compensated For Services
Today, the Washington Business Properties Association (WBPA) is taking another step forward with small housing providers who are challenging Governor Inslee’s unfair and unlawful statewide eviction moratorium in Lewis County State Superior Court. The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief of the ban, which for months has cost them their livelihoods.
To be clear: evicting tenants is a last resort for housing providers. That is not what this case is about. Rather, the WBPA is supporting the plaintiffs’ challenge to the statewide eviction moratorium on the following grounds:
No one group or individual alone can bear all of the costs and burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet that is what is being asked of small housing providers. The Governor’s order was hastily adopted and needlessly extended, giving a “free ride” to tenants who can pay but choose not to as well as to tenants engaging in criminal and nuisance behavior or causing property damage. Small housing providers are suffering greatly, so the WBPA has decided to take action.
Read the full court filing here.
Read the full article on the WBPA website: WBPA Challenging Governor’s Eviction Ban, Demand Small Housing Providers be Compensated for Services - Washington Business Properties Association (thewbpa.org)
From KXly.com Spokane: Washington landlords suing the state over eviction moratorium they fear may be extended - by Kyle Simchuk | KXLY reporter
SPOKANE, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee is facing another lawsuit over his ban on evictions.
The Washington Landlord Association is one of several plaintiffs on the complaint filed Tuesday. They say some landlords have not received a rent payment in eight months, forcing those property owners to make some tough decisions.
The governor’s eviction moratorium is supposed to end on December 31, however the WLA is almost certain it will be extended into the new year.
Washington Landlord Association President Rob Trickler says by skipping rent payments, some tenants are digging themselves into a hole they won’y be able to crawl out of. He fears many landlords will never be reimbursed.
“This order in our opinion has been unlawful since 30 days after it was issued,” said Trickler.
Trickler says landlords have largely been ignored throughout the eviction moratorium.
“Our membership is primarily the mom and pops,” said Trickler.
If tenants aren’t paying rent, landlords still have to pay their mortgage, property taxes, and make home repairs.
Trickler says he feels for people who have truly lost their jobs and income during the pandemic. However, he says some tenants have simply taken advantage of the law.
“I have members and clients that have tenants that are buying new automobiles and camping trailers in the like while not paying their rents, painfully employed,” said Trickler.
He fears the moratorium is a problem that’s ballooning.
“Obviously the longer this goes on and the higher those bills get the less likely the tenant is ever going to manage that and the landlord will never see any of that,” said Trickler.
According to Crosscut, 500,000 renters in Washington were using credit cards or short-term loans to meet their basic spending needs at the end of October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.
In total, 63,000 tenants were occupying their homes without paying rent.
The state of Washington has set aside funds to reimburse landlords for the lost rent. However, Trickler called it a complicated mess, saying the payment is often limited to 80% of three to four months and some landlords may be required to extend the lease through March. He says that’s not a good enough deal for landlords.
To read full article, please click on the link to be directed to the KXLY website: Washington landlords suing the state over eviction moratorium they fear may be extended - KXLY
WBPA Litigation Update: Governor Inslee Convening Workgroup To Address WBPA Concerns With Moratorium Order
Last month, the Washington Business Properties Association (WBPA) stood with three small housing providers in Yakima to overturn Governor Inslee’s unfair and unlawful statewide eviction moratorium by filing a federal suit in the Eastern District of Washington.
Thanks to the work of housing advocates, WBPA, and plaintiff's efforts, Governor Inslee and his staff have announced that they are convening further stakeholder meetings this week to address our concerns with the moratorium. Namely, the Governor has agreed to bring the WBPA to the table to discuss amendments to the order that would ensure the moratorium’s protections for non-payment of rent apply exclusively to renters who can verify that they are financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, click the link below:
Click Here to Read More
Lawsuit Gaining Traction in the Press!
We are excited to tell you that we have received some excellent press coverage since we filed the Lawsuit last week. As you may know, our lawsuit was featured as the Editor’s Choice story for the Puget Sound Business Journal over the weekend and again today in their Afternoon Edition Newsletter:
KIMA and The Lens have both interviewed WBPA President Kevin Wallace and Lawsuit Plaintiff Enrique Jevons. The NBC and ABC affiliates in Spokane carried stories this past weekend regarding WBPA challenging the Governor’s Eviction Moratorium.
For links to the articles and more, follow the link below:
Click Here to Read More
For Republicans to win a majority in the State House, it will be more important than ever that we maintain control of the seats we already have. To do that we will need the help and support of people like you.
The 36th Annual TRENDS Conference & Trade Show is going virtual! We’re excited to offer guests a robust digital experience with all of the great content and exhibitor engagement that TRENDS is known for. Plus, you can tune in from anywhere!
Event registration includes access to educational workshops, panels and webinars taught by industry experts. Admission also includes access to the trade show and all virtual exhibitor booths.
Conference Registration is currently on sale for just $40! Be sure to register now to lock-in your early bird pricing. We’re looking forward to another great conference and trade show and are excited to see you there (digitally)!
By now, I hope, most of you are aware from my several zoom meetings, contacting me, media or own research, what the 4 allowed reasons to terminate a tenancy are under the current emergency governor's proclamation 20.19.3. If not I will refresh here in a moment but you should all be aware that the Supreme Court of Washington just threw in another huge wrinkle. I should also touch base again on the new CDC order in case you could not make the zoom meetings.
As to the first two reasons, you are allowed to terminate a month to month or a lease on its natural expiration date if the landlord is either selling the property or moving in themselves if you give at least 60 days’ notice in the way required by the Residential Landlord Tenant Act. The emergency proclamation specifically says it must be read in term of that act so nothing has vacated the requirement that the termination notice be effective only on the last day of the rental period or in other words the last day of the contract. Similarly, the method of notice must be the same as always including adding an additional day if posted and mailed. What has been added to the normal notice requirement along with the increase to 60 days is that it must be accompanied by an affidavit sworn under the penalty of perjury as to the specifics of the purpose for the termination. We have these forms.
Second two reasons are either serious (read that structural type) damages caused by the tenant or that tenant causing a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of another. The nuances of all this are too complicated for a written article but I can almost guarantee that our landlord, and I am one, reach an opinion that damage is serious significantly earlier than the law. Additionally the terms serious and immediate are issues of fact not issues of law and what that means in my opinion is that if you use this approach you are almost certainly guaranteed to have to go to trial and will not be successful at a show cause hearing. That means additional
complications and risk that are not simply explained in an article. Both these methods also require the new affidavit and also are subject to the same notice delivery requirements but if you use a 20 day termination thinking it does not rise to the level of a 3 day quit notice then the Attorney General will attempt to shut you down or come after you arguing that you have undermined your own argument about the seriousness or immediateness requirement by giving that time.
Now that version of the order is set to expire 15 October 2020 but I am absolutely certain it will be extended as the governor has a hand-picked task force loaded with what appear to be large donors to his campaign and a single big corporate landlord and tenant advocates working on making recommendations for going forward. I would not expect landlord friendly results out of this task force if I were you.
Next the CDC order does not, at present, apply to our situation in that it only prevents evictions based on non-payment of rent due to a covid19 hardship. Our state currently has a stricter rule in place, so the CDC order does not prevent anything already prevented and it does not prevent evictions for other reasons such as bad actors or the natural end of a lease or contract. The relevance of the CDC order may change when the current governor’s proclamation is modified next so do not assume this evaluation to remain unchanged all the way to the end of the year when the CDC order is set to expire.
Finally, the Washington Supreme Court has just added a new wrinkle as of 9 September 2020. We can argue whether or not they have over stepped and taken on the legislative role themselves but absent some action on that front this order will be followed by the various superior courts of every county in the state. I will skip all the whereas language that sets the table and simply post the actual order language here:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
This Court recognizes the authority of superior courts in
Washington to implement an eviction resolution program for
litigants to participate in prior to the filing of an unlawful detainer
action in court, and to take all necessary steps to support such a
program, including but not limited to, entering local orders and
contracting with service providers.
DATED at Olympia, Washington this 9th day of September 2020.
So if I read this correctly what it means is that each Superior Court of every different county can impose a different process/program of its own creation that may be required before allowing the filing of an unlawful detainer. So, what this means to those people who have given a notice to terminate already is unknown and may likely be different from county to county. What that means for due process or the abuse of the same may be different from county to county. What the application of this may mean to the governor’s modification to the proclamation going forward, if any, remains unknown.
As I have said before the Washington Landlord Association is participating in a lawsuit to attempt to protect the rights of landlords. We have donated and continue to fundraise through legal defense fund and are also helping to find plaintiff ’s injured unjustly by an over broad and over reaching proclamation. If any of you are interested in being a plaintiff and having your story added to the suit you can provide that information here.
I want to emphasize that it is quite appropriate and helpful, to have your tenants who are being injured by other bad acting tenants join and participate. It is a stone cold fact that our good tenants are being damaged by this over broad and over reaching proclamation just as landlords are. It’s not just stories about income, retirement investments and savings being taken from landlords by this approach but tenants being victimized.
Stay tuned all! ◊
-Rob Trickler, WLA President & Attorney
425-303-8000 | email@example.com