2023 Legislative Session Wrap-Up and End of Session Report Released
Well, we can finally check off the 2023 legislative session and say that we had a pretty successful run this year. What started out as a pretty nerve-racking session with many bills introduced that took direct aim at our industry, ended up being a fairly benign session with only a few bills directly affecting our industry, bills that we were able to work with the sponsors to make more palatable and industry friendly
The “Year of Housing” was heavily focused on increasing supply across Washington state at all levels of the housing ladder from low-income funding to high end condominiums. The state invested a historically large amount of funding towards housing development and homeownership.
Major pieces of legislation passed this session that were aimed at addressing the housing supply shortage, which is estimated to be 1 million homes behind the population growth. These policy bills include the passage of Middle Housing (E2SHB 1110) championed by Representatives Bateman (D – Olympia) and Barkis (R – Yelm), SEPA Bill (2SSB 5412), and several ADU bills (E2SSB 5045 and EHB 1337).
Several tax proposals gained steam at the end of the session. The first bill was HB 1628, which as introduced would have increased the real estate excise tax (REET) to 4% on any transaction above $5 million and a local REET increase of 0.25%. As the bill came out of committee it would have increased the REET from 3% to 3.5% on anything over $3.025 million and kept the local REET option which was councilmanic. A large coalition worked hard to opposed this bill and it ultimately stalled on the House Floor. The second bill (SB 5770) was introduced by Senator Pedersen on April 12th which would have reformed the state and local property taxes to allow for the potential of increasing the cap to 3% per year, however never received a hearing in Senate Ways & Means.
In the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) world a couple bills passed that impacts the industry, these bills include:
- ESSB 5197, which encourages remote testimony, requiring a 5 days waiting period prior to execution of an unlawful detainer and allows tenants with a pledge from a government or nonprofit entity for the full amount to satisfy the full judgement has until the date of the eviction. Finally, the bill clearly ends the statewide eviction resolution pilot program (ERPP).
- SHB 1074, which Requires a landlord to substantiate the cost of any damages withheld from a tenant deposit with estimates received, invoices paid, or other specified documentation. Extends the timeline for a landlord to provide a statement and documentation for retaining any portion of a tenant deposit from 21 days to 30 days.
- 2SHB 1474, which would increase the document recording fee by another $100 and require that revenue to be dedicated to Covenant Homeownership Program
The largest fight for Housing Provider space this session was over rent control, with 6 bill being introduced. The 6 bills include: HB 1625/SB 5615, HB 1388, HB 1389/SB 5435, and SB 5697. A coalition of stakeholders worked tirelessly to stop these bills from passing. Due in that part to this massive effort, all 6 bills died before the House of Origin Cut-Off, which is seen as the halfway point in session. Another bill, HB 1124 which, as introduced, would have required 6-months’ notice of any rent increase over 5%, also died on the House Floor prior to the halfway point. All bills introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session will be automatically reintroduced in the 2024 Legislative Session and it has been made clear that these bills will be a top discussion point.
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