Legislative Update: Landlord Tenant Laws

The 2020 legislative session is “half over.” There are two weeks left and the pace at which legislation moves increases a lot.

About last week…

This legislative session the WMFHA lobby team has defeated efforts to implement rent control and defeated efforts to prohibit the use of criminal history in tenant screening. These two policies were defeated prior to the first policy cut off.

Last week, the WMFHA lobby team spent hours talking with members of the House outside the House Floor discussing our concerns with legislation to increase the requirements when returning a security deposit. By 5:00 PM on Wednesday, this legislation expanding requirement on the return of the security deposit was defeated by the work of our lobbyists, Kathryn and Krystelle.

The House failed to advance the just cause eviction legislation proposed for Washington. This bill was a victim of a short session because the contents of the legislation required a lot of work and there were 44 amendments for consideration by the whole House of Representatives. The bill is considered defeated in 2020. The risk remains that a citizen initiative may seek to enact statewide just cause in the November election, but most certainly this policy will return in 2021.

Also defeated in this session is the bill that would expand the Landlord Mitigation Fund to reimbursement when a tenant exercises their rights under the domestic violence statute. This is a bill WMFHA supported and worked to usher through the legislative process and we will continue to do so moving forward.

The bill that makes technical corrections of Senate bill 5600 from last year passed the Senate after overcoming roadblocks preventing the bill from making any substantive changes. We will continue to follow this legislation to make sure it ends up where it left the Senate.

Bills to permit installment payments for move-in costs and mandatory delays in assessing late fees are moving through the Senate for public hearings and possible votes. We are working on these policy proposals and finding additional opportunities to protect rental housing providers from policies that have an adverse effect on the financial status of rental properties.

If you have questions, please contact Brett Waller by email or at 425.656.9077.

Missed a Legislative Update? Read Week 1 here, read Week 2 here, read Week 3 here, read Week 4 here, and read Week 5 here.
Want to talk to Spinnaker about this or other property management concerns? Contact our owner Mark Melsness. He’s an owner too so he gets it – and would be honored to help you sort through all of these and future changes. Call Mark at (253) 830-5160 or email Mark directly at Mark@spinnakerpm.com.
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