Seattle Adopts New Tenant Protections

Posted By: Brett Waller Advocacy News ,
The City of Seattle recently passed legislation requiring changes to the notices served to residents. These laws were signed by the Mayor on October 4 and take effect on November 3, 2019, for all properties located in the City of Seattle.  

Below is a summary of each of the laws:

Council Bill 119619 requires all notices to terminate a tenancy, notices to increase housing costs, and notices to enter an occupied home, to include a reference on how to access information on the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.  Specific language will be created by the city to be used in all notices. WMFHA will provide additional information on the specific language requirements that must be added to notices as we are made aware of the verbiage by the city.  

***Remember that a notice to enter an occupied home requires at least 2 days' notice.*** 

Council Bill 119120 re-states existing state laws that require a receipt when a resident pays in cash, and upon the request of the resident when payment is made by means other than cash.  

The bill also creates a new requirement that housing providers accept non-electronic means of payment.  Housing providers may still decline to accept cash but must accept alternative non-electronic means of payment, such as a personal check, money order, etc.  

Council bill 119121 amends existing law and expands the requirements of registration with the City of Seattle's Rental Registration and Inspection (RRIO) program. This amended law requires any rental property to be registered with the RRIO program prior to issuing a notice to terminate a tenancy.  Previously the law required registration prior to entry of a court order evicting a resident.  

To learn more about the RRIO program and to confirm your property's registration, follow this link and search by property address.  

In addition, to the above laws, the council passed two additional pieces of legislation. These changes affect how residents can add family members and/or additional occupants to the lease and create additional protections for survivors of domestic violence. The latter bill creates a local mitigation program, which WMFHA proposed to offset the cost of damages caused in domestic violence incidents. These two laws take effect in 2020. WMFHA will provide detailed summaries of these bills at a later date. You can read more about WMFHA's advocacy efforts here.   

If you have any questions about these changes or need any assistance locating your property's rental registration, please contact Brett Waller at WMFHA.