The 2019 legislative session has been very active with more than 30 bills introduced that proposed changes to how rental housing is constructed, managed and sold. Below is a detailed summary of laws that passed in 2019, that affect how you operate and manage a rental property in Washington State. Click the links to jump to specific changes.
House Bill 1138, passed by the Washington Senate April 8, 2019 by a vote of 47-0 with two excused. The bill clarifies the method and reasons a service member may terminate a residential tenancy.
Service members may terminate a residential tenancy when they receive a permanent change of station, which means one of the following:
A service member, which includes the service member’s spouse or dependents, must provide at least 20 days written notice and include a copy of the official military orders or a signed letter from the service member’s commanding officer confirming:
Effective Date: This law takes effect Saturday, July 27, 2019.
HB 1440 passed the House of Representatives on April 10 by a vote of 29-18 with two members excused.
The bill requires housing providers to provide at least 60 days’ notice for a rent increase of any amount. Any rent increase becomes effective after the end of a term.
E.g. In a fixed term or lease for a specified period of time, the housing provider cannot implement a rent increase during the term, if the rent is based on HUD Area Median Income levels.
In subsidized tenancies, where the amount of rent paid is based on the income of the tenant household, the housing provider must provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice of an increase in the amount of rent.
Effective Date: The law takes effect Saturday, July 27, 2019.
Property Management Tips:
House Bill 1462 was passed on April 13, 2019. The bill requires a vote of concurrance before it becomes law.
The bill requires property owners to provide additional notice when they intend to substantially renovate, demolish or the change the use of a multifamily residential property.
Specifically the bill requires owners or their representatives to provide at least 120 days’ notice to residents of a multifamily community when the owner intends to demolish, substantially renovate or change the use of the property.
WMFHA was successful in negotiating an amendment to exempt cities that have previously created a Tenant Relocation Assistance Program, namely the cities of Seattle and Tacoma.
“Substantially renovate” means extensive structural repair or extensive remodeling of the premises that requires a permit, such as a building, electrical, plumbing or mechanical permit and that results in displacement of an existing tenant.
Effective Date: If the House of Representatives concurs on the bill, the law takes effect on Saturday, July 27, 2019.
A person that violates the notice provisions of this law is liable for up to 3 and one-half times the monthly rent.
House Bill 1219 passed the legislature on April 10, 2019, by a vote in the House of Representatives 34-13 with two excused. The new law allows local jurisdictions to direct certain existing tax revenue to homelessness and affordable housing.
Real Estate Excise Taxes II (REET II) are local real estate transfer taxes charged to the seller of real estate by local jurisdictions. The maximum that can be charged by a local jurisdiction is 0.25 percent. Any revenue generated by this transfer tax, must be used to finance capital projects as a part of the City or County comprehensive plan. Under this new law a local jurisdiction may use REET II revenue for the planning, acquisition, construction, reconstruction repair, replacement, rehabilitation, or improvement of facilities for persons experiencing homelessness and for affordable housing projects up to the greater of $100,000 or 25 percent of available funds, not to exceed $1 million.
Effective Date: The law takes effect Saturday July 27, 2019.
Affordable housing could get boost after lawmakers expand use of real estate excise tax The News Tribune
Senate Bill 5600 passed the House on April 12, 2019 by a vote of 51-46. The bill requires a vote of concurrence by the Senate to become law.
The bill is dubbed “the eviction reform bill” because it makes several changes to the process of eviction from beginning to end. Below is a brief summary of the bills major pieces:
Effective Date: Upon a vote of concurrence, the law will take effect July 27, 2019.
Property Management Tips:
Proposed eviction-law reforms clear second floor vote The Seattle Times
House Bill 1923 makes changes to the Growth Management Act and sets requirements on Cities with a population of 40,000 units or more to increase building capacity of residential housing units.
As some of you know, development of new housing can be complex and time consuming.
To increase residential building capacity cities planning under the GMA with a population greater than 40,000 must take at least two of the following actions, and a city with a population between 20,000 and 40,000 must take at least one of the following actions, by April 1, 2021:
A city that has complied with the requirements by December 31, 2022 is eligible to apply for a one-time grant of $100,000 from Commerce to support planning and outreach efforts.
A project action evaluated under SEPA by a city, county, or town planning fully under the GMA is exempt from appeals under SEPA based on the evaluation of or impacts to transportation elements of the environment.
The requirement that cities with populations greater than 500,000 take certain actions regarding notice of scoping for a nonproject EIS related to subarea plans is eliminated.
The requirement that cities with populations greater than 500,000 analyze whether an adopted subarea plan will result in displacement or fragmentation of certain populations is eliminated.
The University of Washington, through the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, shall produce a report every two years that compiles housing supply and affordability metrics for each city planning under the GMA with a population of 10,000 or more.
A local ordinance imposing impact fees may not charge a higher per unit fee for multifamily residential construction than for single-family residential construction.
A $2.50 document recording surcharge is imposed on each document recorded with county auditors to be deposited into the Growth Management Planning and Environmental Review Fund. After five years, the funds deposited shall be used for permanent supportive housing. Before then, the funds may used for planning grants and to fund reporting.
The does much more to assist in the opportunity to develop housing of all types across this region to ease the housing burden.
Effective Date: The law takes effect July 27, 2019.
Removing city/county breed restrictions
House Bill 1026 prohibits a city or county from maintaining breed restrictions, citing nonspecific evidence that "a dog's breed is not inherently indicative of whether or not a dog is dangerous. As such no city or county may enact, enforce or otherwise apply local breed restriction laws to prevent a person from owning a specific breed of dog. However, local jurisdictions may require dogs to pass the American Kennel Club Good Citizen Test as a condition of maintaining a specific breed of dog.
The bill does not place any restrictions on a housing provider's community policies that limit certain breeds. This includes limitations placed on a community by an insurance policy or any other reason based in contract. If an applicant or resident seeks to obtain a breed of dog restricted by your community policy, consult your insurance policy to determine the effect of accepting the dog, or consider requiring the dog to pass the American Kennel Club Good Citizen Test or similar test.
Remember that a request by an applicant or resident to maintain a restricted breed as an emotional support animal should comply with your fair housing and reasonable accommodation procedures.
Effective Date: The law takes effect January 1, 2020.
For more information, pleas contact Brett Waller at email@example.com or (425) 656-9077.