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News » TU News » 29 May 19

CONGRATULATIONS on historic wins for tenant protections across WA State!

Eviction reform from the 2019 legislative session

This legislation was won through strategic work from tenant leaders, advocates, coalition members, and legislative leaders! It is a critical step in beginning to address the harm faced by black renters and renters of color, who are disproportionately evicted from their homes (https://evictions.study/)

Thank you to our partners, who championed this change together:
Representative Nicole Macri (43rd LD, Seattle), Senator Patty Kuderer (48th LD, Redmond), Representative Laurie Jinkins (27th LD, Tacoma), Representative Melanie Morgan (29th LD, Lakewood), Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, King County Housing Justice Project, Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee, Washington CAN, Columbia Legal Services, Northwest Justice Project, Dr. Tim Thomas, Resident Action Project members, and more!

What are the coming changes?

SB 5600 / HB 1453 Eviction Reform
● The 3 day pay-or-vacate notice period is now extended to 14 days, to allow tenants more time to wait for the next paycheck or apply for emergency rental assistance if they fall behind on rent.
● Judges are now permitted to use more discretion when considering the context of the tenant’s situation, including ordering the option of a payment plan, which will help people keep their homes after they face an unforeseen crisis.
● Landlords cannot evict tenants for non-payment of late fees, legal fees, or court costs, and payments must be applied to rent before other charges.
(The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance also hosted a great webinar that goes into much more detail about the legislation, and you can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/338104729)

HB 1440 Extending notice period required for rent increases
● Landlords will now be required to give a 60-day written notice for any rent increase (doubling the previous notice period of 30 days).

These changes come into effect on July 28, 2019. We will be having a party to celebrate, so check back on our website and facebook for details!

During this session, we advocated for our top priority of statewide Just Cause protections. This law would require that landlords provide a valid business reason for terminating a month-to-month lease. At the moment, landlords can issue a 20-day notice of termination, without giving a reason, even when tenants are current in rent and following all rules of the lease. Unfortunately this creates a way for landlords to use this avenue as a means of discrimination and retaliation. Although Just Cause legislation did not pass this year, we will continue fighting for statewide renter stability, and we need your help to make it happen!

What are the next steps in the fight for Just Cause and Rent Control?

Join us at our Statewide Renter Power Assembly in September 2019!
● Gather with tenant organizers and leaders from across the state of Washington for an amazing weekend to build our collective power!
● Follow us on facebook @tenantsunion and check out our website later this summer for more details on how to register.
● Talk together with your neighbors about how you want to fight together for housing as a human right, and join the TU!

www.tenantsunion.org/membership