Hearing on HB 1904, Rent Increase Notice and Tenant Lease Break Bill, on Tuesday, January 18th at 8:00 am
Hello WLA Members:
Below is the Call to Action on our opposition of HB 1904, protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months' notice for rent increases over a certain amount, allowing tenants the right to terminate a tenancy, and limiting late fees.
The bill is schedule for a hearing on Tuesday, January 18 at 8:00 a.m. in the House Housing, Human Services Veterans Committee. We need all our members to sign in OPPOSE on the bill.
Currently there are over 400 people signed up PRO. We need our members to take action right away.
Chester Baldwin, Attorney at Law
Public Affairs Consulting, LLC
Cell: (360) 688-4588
Fax: (360) 841-7062
Please Note: You cannot sign up to provide verbal testimony after 7:00 a.m. on January 18th. You can provide written testimony up to 24 hours after the hearing concludes.
HB 1904 - Bill Summary:
· Requires housing providers to give between 180 and 220 days notice for all rent increases over 3%
· The bill specifies the increase notice applies to "base rent" and does not apply to utility costs.
· Requires housing providers to inform the tenant when they receive the notice of rent increase that they may terminate the tenancy at any time and cannot be held liable for rent after vacating.
· Removes the 20 days notice requirement for a tenant to terminate a tenancy if a rent increase notice of 3% or more is given.
· Allows a tenant who pays the increased rent after not receiving the proper notice to sue the housing provider for the excess rent, damages, and attorney's fees
· Caps late fees at 1.5% of the monthly rent.
· This bill puts an unreasonable expectation on housing providers to predict the rental housing environment over 180 days in advance.
· The bill incentivizes housing providers to regularly increase their rents and punishes housing providers for not increasing rent each renewal.
· Giving tenants the ability to terminate a lease at any point after receiving a rent increase steps between a private contract between two parties. Tenants would be able to violate or break the lease unilaterally which leaves housing providers concerned if their lease will be upheld.
· Housing providers need time to find a new tenant once their current tenant decides to vacate. Allowing tenants to vacate, whether on month to month or a fixed term lease, without 20 days notice leaves housing providers liable for their own bills without the assurance of rent. More often then not they will be unable to find a new tenant before their bills are due the next month.
· Late fees are designed to incentivize tenants to pay rent on time. A nominal fee provides little incentive and invalidates the purpose of the fee.
WLA Office Staff