Washington legislators introduced four bills this week intended to help renters deal with the spiraling costs and increasing challenges of being a tenant in the state’s current housing market, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance announced.
CHS highlighted 43rd District Rep. Brady Walkinshaw’s plan for one of the bills as we looked ahead at the 2015 session in Olympia. Walkinshaw’s bill would ensure renters only pay an application fee once by requiring landlords to accept a submitted background screening as long as it was prepared within 30 days of the application date. Landlords may choose to do their own background screening, but if one is already provided to them they cannot pass that fee onto prospective tenants.
A second bill introduced by the Democrats would outlaw “discrimination in housing based on a renter’s participation in a government assistance program,” the announcement said. Many rental ads now list “not accepting Section 8,” referring to those receiving assistance with their rent, the announcement noted.
Meanwhile, the third bill is designed to ensure better accuracy in evictions reporting.
The fourth bill would be hugely significant to many Seattle renters as the demand for apartments has sparked continuing rent hikes. Sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the legislation would shift the required notice for rent increases from 30 days to 90 days. The bill would also provide tenant relocation assistance to a broader base of renters. Kohl-Welles introduced the same bill last year only to see it fail. With another year of climbing rents, it could be time to give renters more time to keep up with the rise.