Three Washington Bills Proposed That Will Increase Renter Protections
Bill HB1388 aims to prevent excessive rent increases by applying limitations to the rent increases allowed on a single property each year. The bill defines an “excessive rent increase” as “greater than the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI-U (West Region) or 3%, whichever is grater, up to a maximum of 7%” during any 12-month period.
Under this bill, the Attorney General’s office would also regain its power to enforce state tenant protection laws, and landlords would no longer be permitted to impose excessive charges or additional requirements on tenants who rent on a month-to-month basis.
HB 1389 would ban rent increases during the initial year of tenancy and limit excessive rent increases. Exceptions would be made if the landlord has made significant improvements to the dwelling, such as those that cost more than four months’ worth of rent.
HB 1124 proposes to enforce landlords to give a minimum of 180 days’ notice for any rent increase that exceeds 5%, and allow tenants to end their tenancy without any penalties for rent increases that surpass 5%. Moreover, the bill intends to restrict late rental payment fees to $75 under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act.
Michele Thomas, the Policy & Advocacy Director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, is excited for these bill proposals. “The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is proud to work with Representatives Macri and Ramel to pass these and other measures to help stabilize rents across our state and prevent more people from being displaced from their homes.” She argues that recent surveys indicate that housing costs, rising rents, and homelessness are the main concerns among residents of all income levels in Washington.
According to Thomas, “..these bills provide a balanced approach that allows landlords to raise rents by reasonable amounts that account for inflation while giving tenants protection and peace of mind knowing that rent increases will be both predictable and affordable.”