City of Olympia – Notice of “Tenant Protections” Changes Effective September 20

Posted By: Ryan Makinster Advocacy News ,

On Tuesday, August 16, the Olympia City Council passed a new “Tenant Protection” Ordinance” with several requirements/prohibitions. Thankfully, due to WMFHA GA efforts, the council chose to apply a delayed effective date for the notification requirements.

The adopted ordinance will be published August 21, so we want to make you aware so you can update your processes to comply and ensure renewal notices are sent in compliance with the new law.

The new requirements and prohibitions include:

Move in Fees & Security Deposits

  • Effective September 20, 2022
  • A refundable security deposit or last month’s rent may be charged, but may not exceed one month’s rent
  • May not require other “move-in” fees or charges, including a fee to “hold” the unit prior to possession
  • May charge a separate pet damage deposit

Pet Damage Deposits

  • Effective September 20, 2022
  • Limits deposit to 25% of one month’s rent
  • Must allow tenant to pay over three consecutive months
  • May not keep any portion of the pet deposit for damage not caused by pet
  • May not charge pet deposit for subsidized housing where amount of rent is based on income, excluding the federal housing choice voucher program

Notice of Rent Increase

Any rent increase must be noticed in accordance with RCW 59.12.040 and must comply with the following requirements:

  • 120 days’ notice for rent increases greater than (5%)
  • 180 days' notice for rent increases greater than (10%)

If the rental agreement governs subsidized housing where the amount of rent is based on the income of the tenant or circumstances specific to the subsidized household, the landlord shall provide a minimum of 30 days' prior written notice of an increase in the amount of rent to each affected tenant.

Delayed Effective Date for this section

Effective date of 120 notice requirement is 120 days after publication of ordinance (Dec. 19)

Effective date of 180 notice requirement is 180 days after publication of ordinance (Feb. 17)

What This Means for Members:

Leases executed prior to December 19, 2022

  • There is no notification requirement besides what is already required by the state for any rent increase (RCW 59.18.140)

Leases Executed December 19, 2022, through February 16, 2023

  • Rent increases not more than 5% only require current state notice requirement (RCW 59.18.140)
  • Rent increases greater than 5% will have to been noticed 120 days prior.
    • Examples
      • For a December 19, 2022, lease with an increase greater than 5%, you would have to serve notice by August 21, 2022
      • For that same lease executed February 16, 2023 you would have to serve notice by October 19

Leases Executed After February 16, 2023

  • Rent increases greater than 5% but equal to or less than 10%
    • Tenant will have to been noticed 120 days prior.
      • For a February 17, 2023, lease with an increase of 6% you would have to serve notice by October 20, 2022
    • Rent increases greater than 10%
      • Tenant will have to been noticed 180 days prior.
        • For a February 17, 2023 lease with an increase of 11% you would have to serve notice by August 21, 2022

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.

City staff will host a webinar on Thursday, September 8 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom to go over the ordinance and answer questions. Please submit your questions by September 7 to Christa Lenssen via email: clenssen@ci.olympia.wa.us.

Register to attend

Please contact Ryan Makinster any questons regarding this notice.