Provided below is a summary of the bills that passed.
Please note: the new law goes into effect 90 days from the time the Governor’s sign the bill.
Bill Summary PDF
ESSB 5600 - Concerning Residential Tenant Protections
1. Section 1
2. Section 2 - 59.12.030
a. Extends the pay or vacate notice from 3 to 14 days.
3. Section 3 - New Section in 59.18
a. Creates a standard form pay or vacate notice and inserts into statute.
4. Section 4 - New Section in 59.18
a. Requires the Washington Attorney General’s office to maintain a website with the pay or vacate notices translated into multiple languages.
b. Requires the Washington Attorney General’s office to maintain a list of organizations that will assist tenants.
c. Requires the Washington Attorney General’s office to maintain a website with other common landlord-tenant notices translated into multiple languages.
5. Section 5 - 59.18.030
a. Creates a new statutory definition of rent:
i. Any recurring and periodic charges identified in the rental agreement for the use and occupancy of the premises.
ii. Include charges for utilities.
iii. Excludes non-recurring charges for costs incurred due to late payment, damages, deposits, legal costs, or other fees, including attorneys' fees.
iv. Creates an exemption of security deposit payment plans.
6. Section 6 - New Section in 59.18
a. Requires that a landlord first apply any tenant payments to rent, before applying monies to other costs and fees.
b. Prevents a landlord from obtaining a writ of restitution for the premises for the nonpayment of fees and costs that are not defined as “rent”.
c. Allows a landlord to obtain a writ of restitution for nonpayment of security deposit payment plans.
7. Section 7 - 59.18.410
a. Caps the amount of late fees that can be awarded in a judgement at $75.
b. Mandates that the tenant pay an additional $50 for each reinstatement under the section.
c. Allows for reinstatement of tenancies with full payment of the judgment for month-to-month tenancies.
d. Allows for reinstatement of tenancies after a judgment is entered for unlawful detainer through judicial discretion
i. Creates judicial discretion factors for the judge to weigh the matter
ii. Allows judges to set terms for payment plans between landlords and tenants for the payment of the judgment after the tenancy has been reinstated.
1. Tenant has 5 court days to pay one month’s rent of the monies due on the judgment in order for the tenancy to be reinstated.
2. The payment plan may last up to 90 days.
3. Tenant must pay cumulative of one month’s rent of the monies due within the first 30 days of the payment plan.
4. Tenant must pay cumulative of one month’s rent of the monies due within the second 30 days of the payment plan.
5. Tenant must pay the balance of the monies due within 90 days of the beginning of the payment plan and reinstatement.
6. Tenant must stay current on any new rent during the payment plan period.
7. If the judgement is entered between the 15th and the last day of the month, the tenant has the option of adding the next month’s new rent into the judgment payment plan.
8. If the tenant defaults on any of these payments, including the new rent owed, the landlord must serve a 3-day notice and can then have the writ of restitution from the original unlawful detainer executed on the property.
iii. Allows landlords to obtain full payment of the judgment after reinstatement has been awarded through judicial discretion through the Washington State Department of Commerce Landlord Mitigation Program.
1. Judges must make a finding that the tenant is low-income or experiencing hardship.
2. Landlords and tenants must sign a form application with the department requesting payment on of the judgment in full.
3. If the tenant won’t sign the application, the landlord must sign a sworn statement stating that the monies owed are true, and that the landlord made a good faith effort to obtain the tenant’s signature.
4. The landlord applying for Landlord Mitigation Program monies will receive confirmation of available funds in 30 days and have claims paid in 45 days.
5. If the Landlord Mitigation Program does not contain monies to pay the judgment, the landlord may execute the writ of restitution from the original unlawful detainer on the property.
6. Any claims to the Landlord Mitigation Program are durable (remain owing even if the fund has no money) and will be paid in the order requested subject to new funding.
iv. Prevents tenants from access to judicial discretion reinstatement if they have been issued 3 pay-or-vacate notices in a 12-month period.
8. Section 8 - 59.18.390
a. Removes bond requirement language requiring tenants to place money in the court registry in order to stop a writ of restitution that has been executed on the tenant
9. Section 9 - 59.18.365
a. Updates the standard form summons and complaint for unlawful detainer
10. Section 10 - 59.18.290
a. Restricts the awarding of reasonable attorneys’ fees
i. If the tenant fails to appear there can be no reasonable attorneys’ fees awarded in the judgment
ii. If the judgment awarded is less than 2 months’ rent or $1,200 (whichever is greater) there can be no reasonable attorneys’ fees awarded.
iii. If the tenant seeks reinstatement, reasonable attorneys fees can be awarded if the tenancy is reinstated, but cannot be awarded if the tenancy is not reinstated.
11. Section 11 - 59.18.055
a. Redefines the method of alternative service for unlawful detainers and allows alternative service for default unlawful detainers.
12. Section 12 - 43.31.605
a. Amends Landlord Mitigation Program to allow for payments of unlawful detainer judgments when judicial discretion reinstatement has been ordered by the court
13. Section 13 - 43.31.615
a. Amends the Landlord Mitigation Program fund to allow for budget appropriations to pay for judicial discretion reinstatement judgments
14. Section 14 - New Section
a. Creates a null and void clause that prevents E2SSB 5600 from passing if there is not money appropriated from the capital or operating budget to fund the Landlord Mitigation Program.
b. Should have $3 million in additional funds appropriated to the Landlord Mitigation Fund to cover these claims.
SHB 1138 - Armed Forces Exceptions, Notice of Termination of Tenancy
1. Section 1 - 59.18.030
a. Creates new definitions of service member, orders, permanent change of station and Service member.
2. Section 2 - 59.18.200
a. Updates language allowing a service member to terminate a lease agreement when receiving a “permanent change of station” instead of “reassignment”.
3. Section 3 - 59.18.220
a. Changes termination of tenancy by service members policy from 7-days after receipt of the order to 20-days before leaving with a written copy of the order or letter from the service member’s commanding officer stating that:
i. The service member is moving at least 35 miles from the current residence and the service member is retiring.
ii. The service member is prematurely or involuntary discharged or released from active duty.
iii. Ther service member receives temporary duty orders that are longer than 90-days.
iv. The service member is released for active duty and their residence is more than 35-miles away from the rental property.
v. The service member is directed to move into government housing.
vi. The service member receives change of station orders after signing the rental agreement but before taking possession of the premises.
4. Section 4 - 59.20.030
a. Applies the same definitions in Section 2 to the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act.
5. Section 5 - 59.20.090
a. Applies the same changes to termination of tenancy in section 3 to the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act.
ESHB 1440 - Providing Longer Notice of Rent Increases
1. Section 1 - 59.18.140
a. Amends the notice period for a rent increase for a month-to-month tenancy from 30 to 60-days prior notice.
b. Allows for subsidized tenancies to give 30-days notice for rent increases in subsidized tenancies.
ESHB 1462 - Increasing Notice for Substantial Rehab or Change of Use
1. Section 1 - 59.18.200
a. Requires 120-day notice for termination when a property is being substantially rehabilitated, has a change of use, or demolished.
i. Defines Substantial Rehabilitation as, “extensive structural repair or extensive remodeling of premises that requires a permit such as a building, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permit, and that results in the displacement of an existing tenant.
ii. Defines Change of Use:
1. Conversion of any premises that results in the displacement of an existing tenant, from a residential use to a nonresidential use;
2. Conversion from one type of residential use to another type of
residential use that results in the displacement of an existing tenant, such as conversion to a retirement home, emergency shelter, or transient hotel;
3. Conversion following removal of use restrictions from an assisted housing development that results in the displacement of an existing tenant; or
4. Exempts displacement of a tenant so that the owner or a member of the owner's immediate family may occupy the premises. This does not constitute a change of use.
iii. A person in violation of the policy is liable in a civil action up to threes times the monthly rent.
Tuesday, March 19th at 10am
Calling all WLA Members to Come to Olympia to Testify in OPPOSITION to SB 5600, concerning residential tenant protections, prime sponsored by
Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-48) which is scheduled for a hearing in the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. in
the John L. O’Brien Building Room A.
John L O'Brien Building Address: 504 15th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98501
This legislation makes significant changes to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) to include some of the following:
Your lobbyists are working with stakeholders and the Prime Sponsor of the legislation to come up with a compromise on the legislation, but in its current form we OPPOSE this bill.
Please email Mark Gjurasic, WLA Lobbyist, at email@example.com if you are coming to Olympia to testify.
Who to contact to Oppose SB 5600
We urge you to come to Olympia and testify, as well as, contact the members of the House Civil Rights & Judiciary
Committee in Opposition to this legislation to the following committee members.
To see the contact info of the committee members, please click on the web link below:
Committee Members Web Link
IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR ALL OWNERS OF RENTAL PROPERTY IN THE CITY OF TACOMA
The Tacoma City Council unanimously passed ordinance #28559, enacting a whole new law entitled “Rental Housing Code” which will be found in TMC 1.95. By amendment, they made the Effective Date December 1, 2018 (officially 10 days after ordinance is published on their website) for paragraph TMC 1.95.060 which requires giving at least sixty (60) days advance notice for rent increases of any amount. No penalty will be enforced until February 1, 2019, but if you tender a shorter rent raise notice, the City will not allow you to enforce the rent raise and require you to reissue a proper 60 day advance notice before any rent raise can be effective. This includes raising rent on any lease renewal offers – must allow at least 60 days before rent can go up. The one exception is if the fixed term lease has a built-in automatic increase/escalation clause, then the 60 day notice will not be required as the rent increases will have been pre-disclosed in the lease agreement. (This was approved as an amendment to the original language).
The rest of the new code goes into effect on February 1, 2019, including the penalties for violating the code and timelines:
Change of Use is defined as: “Change of use” means the conversion of any dwelling unit from a residential use to a non-residential use; conversion from one type residential use to another type residential use, such as a conversion to a retirement home, emergency shelter, transient hotel, or short-term rental as defined in Tacoma Municipal Code (“TMC”) 13.06.700; the removal of use restrictions, including those in an assisted housing development; provided that an owner displacing a tenant so that the owner or immediate family member can occupy the rental dwelling unit shall not constitute a change of use. Any “change of use” are provided herein requires displacement of a tenant.
Substantial Rehabilitation is defined as: “Substantial rehabilitation” means extensive structural repair or extensive remodeling and requires a building, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permit for the tenant’s dwelling unit at issue. Any “substantial rehabilitation” as provided herein requires displacement of a tenant.
1. If you displace a tenant for either of these items requires:
a. Providing at least 120 days prior to end of a rental period advance notice to vacate; and
b. Providing resident(s) with a packet of information on relocation assistance – If tenant has applied to the city for the assistance and qualifies, the Total relocation assistance starts at $2000 for 2019, with city contributing ½ and landlord contributing ½.; and
c. If requested, landlord must hold a meeting with tenant to explain situation, etc. within 20 days of any request.
Other new Rental Housing Code requirements (effective Feb 1, 2019):
• Provide information packet to tenant prepared by City that covers tenant rights, fair housing, Landlord-Tenant law, minimum building code info, etc. and a link to voter registration on the Secretary of State website. For existing tenants, landlords must provide to tenants within 30 days of information being available by city. First packets must be in printed form, and updates may be sent by email, unless tenant requests it in written/printed form.
• Provide all applicants your written rental criteria that must include a link to a city website that will give potential renters information on any code violations & any fair housing complaints that involve the landlord.
• Landlords must accept installment payments for deposits, last month’s rent and any fees (except screening/application fee) upon a tenant’s written request.
o Month to month tenancies & 2 month fixed term tenancies: 2 equal installments – ½ up front and have together with 2nd month’s rent.
o Fixed term tenancies of 3 months or longer: 3 equal installments – 1/3 at move-in, 1/3 together with each of 2nd and 3rd month’s rent.
o For Non-payment must give a ten day notice to comply/vacate.
• Landlord must comply with any reasonable accommodation requests in giving notices to the tenant.
• As mentioned above, require 60 days advance notice for ALL rent increases.
• For “no cause” terminations: Give at least 60 days advance notice prior to end of rental period to terminate. Can still use a 3 day for nuisance, 3 day pay/vacate or 10 day notice to comply/vacate if situation warrants it.
o 60 day notice to terminate is required to end a fixed term lease! So if you don’t want to renew or not sure, you probably should give notice to terminate, else tenant will not be required to vacate when lease
• All new rental agreements must reference these new laws.
• No retaliation or reprisals allowed. (Mimics state law)
• Penalties for noncompliance are steep:
o For violating notice to increase rents, failure to give info packets or accept installment payments: 1st violation $500 per dwelling unit; subsequent violations within 3 years are $1000 per dwelling unit.
o For violating notice to vacate timeline: $250 per day per dwelling unit for 1st 10 days; then goes up to $500 per day per dwelling unit. And if tenant has already vacated – a flat $1000 penalty per unit. In addition, the City of Tacoma adopted ordinance 28558 which makes a violation of the State Source of Income Law become a Human Rights violation to be investigated as any other fair housing complaint. Note this is a summary of the new requirements only for rentals within the city limits of Tacoma – Landlords should review the full text of the new code, as amended, when establishing rental policies.