City of Burien – Notice of “Tenant Protections” Changes Effective Today, October 28
On Monday October 24, the Burien City Council passed a new “Tenant Protection” Ordinance with several requirements/prohibitions. Unfortunately, the council, through emergency action, chose an immediate effective date of October 28, so we want to make you aware so you can update your processes to comply.
Any rental agreement or renewal of a rental agreement shall state the dollar amount of the rent or rent increase and require:
- 120 days’ written notice for rent increases greater than (3%)
- 180 days' written notice for rent increases greater than (10%)
- In the event of such an increase, the tenant may terminate the tenancy immediately upon surrendering the dwelling unit prior to the increase taking effect
What This Means for Members:
- Rent increases starting on October 28 cannot exceed 3% for the first 120 days and cannot exceed 10% for the first 180 days because you would be unable to comply with the new noticing requirements
- If you were planning to increase rent by more than 3% on October 28, note that you will be out of compliance (any prior notice given doesn’t matter)
- From today until 120 days from now you can’t charge more than a 3% increase. 120 days from now you can start charging between 3-10%, but must start noticing immediately (120 days prior to rent increase)
- From today until 180 days from now you can’t charge more than a 10% increase. 180 days from now you can start charging over 10% but must start noticing immediately (180 days prior to rent increase)
Move in Fees & Security Deposits
- All move in fees and security deposits charged by a landlord before a tenant takes possession of a dwelling unit shall not exceed one month's rent, except in subsidized housing where the amount of rent is set based on the income of the tenant
- Tenants entering rental agreements with terms lasting six or more months may choose to pay their move-in fees and security deposits in six equal monthly installments over the first six months occupying the dwelling unit
- Tenants entering rental agreements with terms lasting fewer than six months or month-to-month rental agreements, may choose to pay move in fees and security deposits in two equal monthly installments over the first two months occupying the dwelling unit
- May not refuse to renew or continue rental agreement after expiration unless owner can prove just cause in court.
- Late fees and penalties due to nonpayment of rent charged to a tenant shall not exceed $10 a month
- Any notice to pay or vacate shall include a notice “You have 14 days to pay the rent required by this notice. After 14 days, you may pay the rent but will have to include a late fee totaling at most $10.00 per month for each month of rent owed. If the landlord has started a court case to evict you and the case is filed in court, you will need to pay court costs as well before the hearing date to avoid eviction.”
Due Date Adjustment
- All new rental agreements must allow tenants to adjust the due date of rent payments if they have a regular primary source of income that they receive on a date of the month other than what is specified in the rental agreement
Social Security Number and Screening
- A landlord may ask for a social security number as part of the screening process but may not deny an applicant because they don’t provide one
- Alternative proof of financial eligibility such as portable screening reports, or other proof of income must also be accepted, where available, if offered by the tenant
Certificates of Inspection
- Penalty for no certificate of inspection (BMC 5.62) is added:
- $100.00 per day for each day without a certificate of inspection for the first 10 days of noncompliance
- $250.00 per day for each day in excess of 10 days of noncompliance
- After 30 days of non-compliance property shall be deemed uninhabitable and any valid business license will be revoked
- Property owner shall be financially liable for relocating tenant
- $250/ day penalty shall continue to accrue until tenant is relocated
NOTE: As always, these are a general interpretations of the changes adopted and do not constitute legal advice; always consult the actual ordinance language and your legal counsel for compliance requirements.
For any questions please contact Director of Government Affairs, Ryan Makinster at email@example.com.