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.
WLA Office Staff