A great number of developments have occurred lately, both locally and nationally.
Here is a little skim of the latest:
Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection Resources: The follow link contains useful information regarding the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the City of Seattle: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/rentalrules/default.htm
Capped Move-in Costs: This ordinance limits the combined costs of security deposits and nonrefundable fees to no more than the amount of the first month’s rent. It limits pet-damage deposits to 25% of the first month’s rent and gives renters the right to pay their move-in costs in installments. PHA filed a lawsuit to attempt to invalidate this new law
Updated Information for Tenants: This packet of information is required to be given to any new
or renewing tenants and includes the most recent requirement, voter registration information. The most recent version is at the bottom of this page: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/commonquestions/leases/default.htm
Fair Housing Resources and Pamphlet: Includes information and resources for how to comply with first-in-time, source of income protections, and tenant screening parameters.
More information here: http://www.seattle.gov/civilrights/civil-rights/fair-housing
First in Time: This Seattle ordinance requires a landlord to provide tenants with minimum screening criteria, track receipt of applications by date and time, run screenings in order of receipt and offer tenancy in that order, and give the tenant 48 hours to respond to an offer of tenancy. Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit saying the City’s policy violates property rights, due-process and free-speech protections.
Source of Income Protections: This ordinance expands the sources of income an owner must allow when calculating an applicant’s income, including Social Security, child support, public assistance, and retirement programs. In this legislation, preferred employer move-in incentives and discounts were also banned.
Restricting Use of Criminal Records in Tenant Screening: Effective February 19. 2018, a new ordinance prevents landlords from denying applicants housing based on criminal history. It also prohibits the use of advertising language that categorically excludes people with arrests or conviction records.
New Rent Increase Notice Requirements: For rent increases to be enforceable In the City of Seattle, certain verbiage must be present regarding a tenant’s rights and landlord obligations. An example of this new form is available through RHA. https://www.rhawa.org/forms.html
Tenant Relocation: In November 2017, Councilmember Sawant made a proposal to the City Council that would force landlords who raise rent by more than 10 percent in a year to pay three months’ worth of a tenant’s rent if the tenant is forced to move out due to the increase.
Give landlords a Voice: Get involved with the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound and give a voice to the rental housing industry by advocating on legislative issues and donating to their Political Action Committee and Legal Defense Fund. For more information: https://www.rhawa.org/advocacy.html