- Tim Seth-
As the start of a new 2-year legislative season begins, we already are seeing new bills regarding landlords. To better assist us in pushing good legislation for landlords, WLA was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to consider two eminently known and qualified Olympia legislative lobbyists...Chiechi & Associates, and Charles W Beck Enterprises. Following a brief trial period, Charles W Beck Enterprises was signed up to represent WLA this session. Mr. Beck is a long-time landlord-member of WLA and carries many years of experience/contacts working with the legislature as staff, and later in campaign management. He will meet weekly with us to report on “inside news” and coordinate strategies for the week. WLA members John Wells, Anne Pence, and John Merchant have offered to assist WLA in hearings.
For starters, here are 23 bills affecting landlords that have been introduced. For more information: call WLA office toll-free 1-888-753-9150. (Note: all unfinished bills will be automatically reintroduced next year.)
SB 5103 - Guide Dogs/Service Animals. New language is added to include “or in training” in the definitions of guide dogs and service animals. This is probably in response to Washington state court rulings that such animals must be “trained” to accommodate a person’s disability. This may, or may not be an issue with WLA...depending on how the Human Rights Commission defines “in training”. Assigned to Sen Committee on Health & Long Term Care
SB 5179-S - Revaluation of Property Impacted by Government. Revaluations must consider reductions ordered by any court or body based on government restrictions. Sen Gov Operations & Elections
SB 5219 - Addressing the Potential Homeless. Creates a legislative task force to address housing for vulnerable individuals. As follow-through to Senator Mike Carrell’s visit to WLA’s 2008 Spring Conference, Senator Carrell is putting together a roster of task force participants (including WLA and other landlord groups) to address methods to encourage private landlords to provide housing to individuals at high risk of otherwise being homeless. Plans are to conduct such workshops this summer and fall. WLA sees this as a potential opportunity to introduce long-time needed landlord reforms to landlord-tenant law (that have proven to be counter-productive to both landlords and tenants). Sen Human Services & Corrections
SB 5281, SB 5667 (HB 1298) - Utility Liens. See HB 1298 below.
Sen Gov Operations & Elections
SB 5368 - Property Assessments. All real properties to be revalued annually, and physically inspected every 6 years. Sen Ways & Means
SB 5495 (HB 1296) Rental Housing Inspection (See HB 1296 below)
SB 5672 (HB 1766) Making Source of Income a Protected Category.
These bills prohibit discrimination against verifiable lawful sources of income to include: income derived from employment, social security, supplemental security income, other retirement programs, child support, alimony, any federal, state, local, nonprofit-administered benefit or subsidy programs, including housing assistance, public assistance, and general assistance. This cruel hoax on the poor is a rerun from last session. In any event, screening/credit reports will indeed remain the determinate factor in rental selections. House Labor, Commerce, Consumer Protection
SB 5549 (HB 1773) - Termination Notices. Replaces the 20-day no cause eviction notice with: 20-day for cause, 30-day no cause if tenancy is less than one year, 60-day no cause if tenancy is one year or more. A set-back for law enforcement crime-free programs, and the general maintenance of peace and quiet, WLA will give this issue top priority. Sen Fin Inst, Housing, Insur
SB 5550 (HB 1581) MHP Notice (See HB 1581 below)
Sen Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance
SB 5742 (HB 1299) Crime Free (See HB 1299 below) Sen HS/Corr
SB 5810 (HB 1942) - Foreclosures. Adds consumer protections including 60 days notice to evict tenants of foreclosed deeds of trusts. Requested by Gov Gregoire. Sen Fin Inst, Housing, Insurance
SB 5822 (HB 1908) - MHP Act - See HB 1908. House Judiciary
SB 5833 (HB 1856) - Sexual Victims. Tenant victims of sexual assault, stalking, or sexual harassment by landlord may move without notice, change locks, and/or sue the landlord. Sen Human Svcs & Corr
SB 5923 - Deposits. Net interest accrued on security deposits must be deposited to affordable housing programs. This idea comes up most every session but proves to be impractical. Sen Fin Inst, Housing, Ins
HB 1064 - Unauthorized Occupants. Occupants without denominated interest that fail to vacate following 20-days notice are guilty of unlawful detainer. This closes a legal eviction loop-hole. Judiciary.
HB 1078 - Exchange Facilitators. Enacts regulations dealing with persons action as RE exchange facilitators. House Fin Inst & Insur
HB 1140 - Manufactured/Mobile Home Disputes. Allows the attorney general to enter and investigate MH disputes under chapter 59.30 RCW. House Committee on Judiciary
HB 1228 - Deceased Tenant’s Property. Clarifies dispositions of a deceased tenant’s property. Helps protect the landlord against demanding relatives with a spelled-out process. House Judiciary.
HB 1229 - Disposition of Tenant Property. Creates a directive for disposition of tenant personal property. Spells out lengthily exact wording a tenant can use to direct the disposition of his/her personal property upon death. House Committee on Judiciary.
HB 1296 (SB 5495) - Rental Housing Inspections. Prohibits a local government from requiring or permitting a landlord to engage or hire a third party to conduct inspections or searches of dwelling units and common areas under RCW 59.18.150. A local government may not assess the cost of an inspection under RCW 59.18.150 against the landlord or owner. A landlord/WLA-backed proposal to forestall bully inspections by local jurisdictions, WLA lobbyist was able to get the bill revised with the dropping of restrictions to out-of-town owners hiring their own inspections. House Rules
HB 1298 (SB 5281, SB 5664) - Utility Liens. Limits to property liens that governments can imposed on landlords/owners to pay tenant-deliquent utility bills. Introduced every year, this teaser never makes it out of session. WLA is concerned over potential city backlash such as refusing to bill directly to tenants, and adopting stiff transfer fees to make up their losses. House Local Government and Housing
HB 1299 (SB 5742)- Crime-Free Programs. Working with landlords and tenants, authorizes local governments to adopt and implement a crime-free rental housing program, and to provide landlords with a tool to stop criminal activity on their properties. WLA is a strong supporter of crime-free programs (best enhanced when working cooperatively with landlord representative groups). House Judiciary
HB 1372 - Tax Revaluations. Modifies provisions relevant to a mid-year revaluation of real property upon a substantial decline in residential property values. House Finance
HB 1392 - Eminent Domain. Addresses property owner hardships that go beyond the financial loss of the property. House Judiciary
HB 1426 - Certified Mail. When code requires registered or certified mail, an electronic return receipt confirmation provided by the post office may be used. House Judiciary
HB 1479 - Adverse Possession. Quiet title action may not be support- ed by statutory/common law claim of adverse possession. H Judiciary
HB 1480 - Assessment Petitions. Property owners given 3 additional months time to file assessment appeals. House Finance
HB 1581 - MHP Notice. Requires 3-years notice on closures or con- versions of mobile home/manufactured home communities. Judiciary
HB 1766 (SB 5672)- Source of Income Protected Category. See SB 5672 above. House Judiciary
HB 1773 (SB 5549) - Terminations. See SB 5549 above. Judiciary
HB 1856 (SB 5833)- Sexual Assault. Additional rights to tenants that are the victim of sexual advances by landlords. House Judiciary
HB 1908 (SB 5822) - MH Park Law. Added language to protect tenants: changing park rules, transfer of rights, maintenance of yard items, snow & ice removal, manager/employee compliance, reduction of rents for reduction of features, etc. House Judiciary
HB 1942 (SB 5810) See HB 5810. House Judiciary
Copies of these bills are available from the Washington State Legislative Information Center: PO Box 450600, Olympia WA 98504-0600, phone 360-786-7573, web site: www.leg.wa.gov
(Note: try the Web site, click bill info...works great!)
You can also call in your legislative concerns on the leg hot line: