Session Update! CLS advocates are working hard to advance racial and economic equity in Washington this legislative session. Here’s an update from week eight:
Protecting Tenants from Unfair Rental Debt: HB 1074
We are thrilled that a bill to protect renters from unreasonable damage claims has just passed the House after finally receiving a hearing on the floor for the first time this year! We have advocated for years to remedy the current system that allows landlords to charge damage claims without evidence or transparency, and gives tenants no meaningful way to dispute these claims. High damage charges can have devastating consequences on low-income renters, including insurmountable debt and bad credit that can block them from finding new housing.
Rental debt, and its consequences, fall most heavily on low-income renters of color, single parents, and renters with disabilities, who are already at increased risk of becoming homeless. Thank you, Representative Thai, and all who supported this bill, which will:
- Establish a definition of “wear and tear” to clarify what constitutes a legitimate claim for damage.
- Require that landlords provide full and specific documentation of the costs of repairs at the end of tenancy.
- Protect tenants from being denied subsequent rental opportunities because of unsubstantiated damage claims from a previous landlord.
Stay tuned as this bill heads to the Senate!
Where are CLS’ other priority bills right now?
Real Labor, Real Wages (HB 1024, Simmons): This bill was referred to Rules 2 Review on February 21st.
Eliminating harmful LFOs (HB 1169, Simmons): The third reading of this bill passed on February 28th.
HB 1074: Protecting Tenants from Unfair Rental Debt
Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords’ claims for damage to residential premises.
What you can do to support:
- Join us in thanking Representative Thai and The Tenants Union of Washington, and all the other legislators and advocates who supported this bill! Also continue to ask your state senator to support protecting renters when the bill comes to a floor vote!