RHAWA lobbies at all levels of government, statewide. Timely updates issues impacting the rental housing industry can be found in RHAWA’s UPDATE newspaper, and by subscribing to RHAWA’s Connections email, and Call to Action legislative email list.
2016 Legislative Session
***New Law *** SB 6413 Regarding Deposit Refunds & Tenant Screening - effective June 9, 2016
2015 Legislative Session
2014 Legislative Session
Source of Income
Mayor Ed Murray sent Seattle Council a proposed ordinance on April 19 that would make it illegal for landlords in the city to discriminate against tenants and prospective tenants based on their use of subsidies or other alternative but lawful sources of income. RHAWA participated in a stakeholder discussion on this issue, and is continuing to engage City Council as there are some issues with the mechanisms proposed within the ordinance. Legislation is expected for consideration in Spring 2016.
This proposal, coming from Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant, would freeze rent increases in circumstances where a tenant makes a complaint to the city about a defect at the property which does not comply with RRIO standards. RHAWA has serious concerns about the rent control aspect of this proposal. Legislation is expected for consideration in Spring 2016.
Rental Registration and Inspections Ordinance (RRIO)
Following complaints from tenants in Fall of 2015 at a substandard property which passed its RRIO inspection, City Council asked the Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) to reconvene the RRIO stakeholder committee to review the current ordinance, and enhance it where appropriate to prevent similar circumstances from occurring in the future. RHAWA sits on that committee, and continues to meet on this issue. New legislation is expected by August 2016.
Housing Opportunities for Ex-Offenders
RHAWA strongly supports access to public records for the purposes of screening applicants for rental housing. Screening is the most important step for ensuring the safety of tenants and property. Legislation in Seattle is expected this year which would prohibit asking on an application whether or not an applicant has a previous criminal conviction, restrict which types of records a rental housing operator may use to screen applicants, and when criminal records may be accessed during the screening process.
RHAWA is working with City Council to find solutions to this issue which protect the interests of owners, and safety of other tenants. Legislation is expected some time during 2016.