UPDATE: Tacoma Rental Housing Code 1.95

Since April 2018 I have been updating you on Tacoma’s Rental Housing Code. On May 14, 2018 the City Council passed Ordinance 28508 that requires landlords to provide 90-days written notice before ending a month-to-month tenancy if the property or unit will be demolished, changed in use, renovated or have certain restrictions removed.

Through June, July, August and September I have attended city council meeting  and CVS meeting as a apart of a stakeholders group along with RHA, WMFHA, tenant advocates from Tacoma and Seattle and the city of Tacoma staff to discuss several new tenant protections including a just cause ordinance.

Here is update from my meeting on September 6, 2018:

Tenant Relocation Assistance: Instead of $3,899, the City is considering $2,000 with an annual increase using CPI. The City tax and license department will confirm whether or not the sale of property will be excluded. Landlord stakeholders asked if the council will vote to pass without a funding mechanism for the budget. Ir the landlord fails to pay their portion of relocation assistance ($1,000) within seven (7) days the city may advance funds to the tenant with a $50 per day penalty to the landlord. The landlord would have thirty (30) days to pay penalties. Note: RCW 59.18.085 allows relocation assistance of three times the rent or $2000, whichever is greater.

Notice of Code Enforcement Violations: Landlords would include a website in their tenant screening criteria for tenants to use to verify whether or not a property has current or past code violations. The city would be responsible for mainting the website.

Distribution of Tenant Rights: Requested that the landlord be allowed to distribute a copy electronically.  City will create and update the one-pager flyer. Requested that the city include a notification with the annual rental license renewal letter if there has been any changes to the one-page flyer.

Installment Plan (Deposit and Last Months’ Rent): Instead of the proposed three/four plan, only offer two plans. One for leases and the other for month-to-month rental agreements. Landlord requested that the tenant request a payment plan in written and at the time of return their application. Any installment plan shall be in writing and signed by both the landlord and the tenant. The landlord and tenant may agree to a different plan.

Penalties: If the landlord violations any part of the Rental Housing Code the current proposal would fine the landlord $1,000 per day. Instead, landlords proposed a penalty amount of $500 first, $750 second and $1,000 third offenses without any daily amount.

The next meeting is September 27, 2018. The Rental Housing Code 1.95 has a pending effective date of October 31, 2018.


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