Washington State Legislature Shows Bipartisan Support for Tenant Protections

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Washington State Legislature Shows Bipartisan Support for Tenant Protections

New Law Ends Practice of Misleading Eviction Reporting

 

Olympia, WA -- With an unprecedented level of bipartisan support, SB 6413 passed the Legislature yesterday and is headed to the Governor's desk to be signed in to law. This bill combines several long debated issues to make progress on tenant protections. The bill rolled together components of the Fair Tenant Screening Act and the Truth in Evictions Reporting Act. One major problem that this bill solves is that of all eviction proceedings being reported as equal. When a tenant prevails in court or has been wrongly named, the court now has the authority to stop those proceedings from showing up as an eviction in tenant screening reports. The Housing Alliance worked with landlord representatives to reach agreement on this bill.

“I worked hard to bring stakeholders together and I’m proud that we were able to find agreement with these common sense solutions for both tenants and landlords,” says Sen. Mullet (D-Issaquah), prime sponsor of the bill. “This bill moves us forward on issues that have been stalled for years and will make a significant difference in the lives of Washington’s tenants.”

Sen. Benton (R-Vancouver), urged fellow lawmakers to support the final passage of the bill saying that it represents “unprecedented agreement” between tenant and landlords stakeholders that historically don’t see eye to eye on policy matters. 

“I’m proud to have supported this bill.” says Rep. Walkinshaw (D-Seattle), prime sponsor of the companion bill. “To make progress on preventing and ending homelessness, we need to eliminate costly and unfair barriers to housing. This bill represents hard fought progress that has taken years and it is one of the highlights of the legislative session.”

“Eliminating unfair and unnecessary barriers to the rental market is part of the solution to the homelessness crisis we’re seeing across the state,” says Rachael Myers, Executive Director of Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. “This law will make it easier for many people to access an affordable rental home.”

Key changes to state law included in the bill:

  • Creates a process for a judge to flag an eviction record for “limited dissemination” when the case was without basis in fact or law, or if other good cause exists for limiting dissemination of the record.
  • Requires landlords to disclose whether or not they will accept a portable tenant screening report, which the bill also defines.
  • Provides landlords with an additional seven days in which to return a tenant’s security deposit, moving the timeline from 14 to 21 days.

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is the statewide leader and champion for affordable homes for all. As a powerful coalition of diverse organizations and individuals we work together to ensure that everyone in Washington has the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities.