Social and Economic Policy
Lack of housing affordable to people of low-income, and the consequent homelessness, has been an issue of concern for many years. The gap between the need for housing and available units remains at approximately 250,000 units in Washington State. Consistent with the League’s positions, which support equal opportunity for housing and the responsibility of government to help alleviate the low-income housing shortage, the League has participated in efforts over the last few years to increase funding for housing as well as financial support for people at risk of losing their homes and will continue to do so in 2023.
Many legislators began the 2023 legislative session indicating that addressing affordable housing and homelessness was a high priority for them. Overall, the session was very successful in this issue category. Although only a small percentage of bills that were introduced passed, there were a number of important bills that did pass. Many of them are described in the material below and in the session summary attached.
Additionally, substantial funding was appropriated in the operating and capital budgets. Capital budget funding includes:
Operating budget funding includes appropriations that will support services for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness:
Funding was also included to backfill the loss of funding for homeless services and to prevent cuts, plus an additional $18 million to help cover a portion of the local shortfall that cities and counties are experiencing for locally funded homeless services. These investments are critical to prevent cuts to homeless services across the state.
League priority bills are in bold below.
There are also three important bills described on the Growth Management web page.
|House Bills||House||Senate||After Passage|
|Bill #||Bill Name (Brief Title)||League Position||Take Action||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||Passed Legislature||On Governor's Desk||Signed|
|HB 1042||Concerning the use of existing buildings for residential purposes||Supports
|HB 1046||Expanding housing supply by supporting the ability of public housing authorities to finance affordable housing developments by bench-marking area median income limits.||Supports|
|HB 1054||Addressing the authority of owners' associations in common interest communities to regulate or limit occupancy by unrelated persons.||Supports||DIED
|HB 1070||Exempting the sale and leaseback of property by a seller from the residential landlord-tenant act when the seller agrees to a written lease at closing.||Supports|
|HB 1074||Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises.||Supports|
|HB 1111||Concerning housing benefit districts.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1124||Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months' notice for rent increases over a certain amount||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1129||Concerning the sale or lease of manufactured/mobile home communities and the property on which they sit.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1167||Concerning residential housing regulations.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1252||Concerning impact fee deferrals||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1276||Concerning accessory dwelling units.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1293||Relating to streamlining development regulations||Supports|
|HB 1337||Expanding housing options by easing barriers to the construction and use of accessory dwelling units.||Supports|
|HB 1343||Providing local governments with options to grant rent relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1349||Concerning foreclosure protections.||Supports|
|HB 1350||Expanding the multifamily tax exemption program to include converting existing multifamily units||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1367||Eliminating unnecessary homeless funding budget and auditing requirements.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1388||Protecting tenants by prohibiting predatory residential rent practices and by applying the consumer protection act to the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/ mobile home landlord-tenant act||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1389||Concerning residential rent increases under the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act..||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1401||Allowing cities and counties to create a simple, standardized housing permit process for affordable housing units in areas designated for housing.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1474||Creating the covenant homeownership account and program to address the history of housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants in Washington state||Supports|
|HB 1507||Concerning fair housing training for officers or board members in common interest communities.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1517||Promoting transit-oriented development.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1596||Providing local governments with options to increase affordable housing in their communities.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1628||Increasing the supply of affordable housing by modifying the state and local real estate excise tax.||Supports||DIED|
|HB 1695||Defining affordable housing for purposes of using surplus public property for public benefit.||Supports|
|HB 1709||Concerning housing programs administered by the department of commerce.||Supports||xx
These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass.
HB 1042 Concerning the use of existing buildings for residential purposes, would prohibit cities from imposing certain restrictions or requirements on new housing units constructed within an existing building that is located in a zone that permits multifamily housing. These include density, parking and other.
HB 1046 Expanding housing supply by supporting the ability of public housing authorities to finance affordable housing developments by re-benchmarking area median income limits. This increases the area median income limits on a public housing authority financed, low-income housing development to 80 percent, making affordable housing accessible to a larger population that in spite of higher income levels is challenged to find housing they can afford.
HB 1054 Addressing the authority of owners' associations in common interest communities to regulate or limit occupancy by unrelated persons, would prohibit an association of unit owners in a common interest community from regulating or limiting the number of unrelated persons that may occupy a unit.
HB 1070 Exempting the sale and leaseback of property by a seller from the residential landlord-tenant act when the seller agrees to a written lease at closing. This would allow the buyer to allow the seller to remain living in the home for up to six months if there is a written agreement between the buyer and seller.
HB 1074 Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises, increases tenant protection from landlord abuse of damage deposits and claims. It would require a landlord to substantiate the cost of any damages withheld from a tenant deposit with repair estimates, invoices, or other documentation; prohibit a landlord from withholding any portion of a tenant deposit for certain items; and establish a one-year statute of limitations for a landlord to take any action against a tenant to recover sums exceeding the amount of the damage deposit. It would also provide the landlord with additional time to provide such documentation.
HB 1111 Concerning housing benefit districts. This bill provides local governments with more options to increase residential capacity, especially in urban areas, by authorizing cities to establish housing benefit districts. These districts would be governed by a board and would be allowed to acquire, through land banking, predevelopment contracting, selling, improving, funding, and leasing, land for the development of affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income households within an area a half-mile or less from a major transit stop and is zoned for average minimum density of 15 dwelling units per acre or more.
HB 1124 Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months' notice for rent increases over a certain amount. This bill would require between 180- and 220-days’ notice of rent increases that exceed five percent. It would address recent egregious rent increases that have forced people to move because they could not afford the increase and give tenants subject to such increases more time to plan and organize their necessary responses.
HB 1129 Concerning the sale or lease of manufactured/mobile home communities and the property on which they sit. This bill would add protection for manufactured/mobile home owners when the land they rent is sold and they are vulnerable to having to move.
HB 1167 Concerning residential housing regulations. This bill requires the Department of Commerce to develop and administer a grant program to assist counties and cities adopt preapproved middle housing plans, directs the State Building Code Council to convene a work group to recommend needed changes to apply the International Residential Code to multiplex housing, and prohibits a city or county from imposing any regulations, reviews, or standards on multiplex housing that is not applied to detached single family residences, except when necessary for fire and life safety.
HB 1252 Concerning impact fee deferrals. This bill amends the chapter of RCW that authorizes impact fees and allows deferrals of fee payments for single family residential development to allow an agreement with the developer to specify when the fee will be paid and specifies conditions that must be met in the agreement.
HB 1276/SB 5235 Concerning accessory dwelling units, would modify the Growth Management Act to require cities and counties to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in urban growth areas (UGAs) and prohibit certain ADU regulations within UGAs. It would also allow cities and counties to offer incentives for the construction or development of ADUs.
HB 1293 Streamlining development regulations. This bill is intended to support infill development of housing units by exempting certain infill projects from environmental review processes, provided that the jurisdiction has done an EIS and that the development is in an area zoned for residential development.
HB 1337 Expanding housing options by easing barriers to the construction and use of accessory dwelling units, would require fully planning cities and counties to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in urban growth areas (UGAs) and prohibit certain ADU regulations within UGAs.
HB 1343 Providing local governments with options to grant rent relief and preserve affordable housing in their communities. This bill would give local jurisdictions the authority to establish property tax incentives for low-income household rental housing that meets certain criteria.
HB 1349 Concerning foreclosure protections. This bill would extend the notification periods required for foreclosure, thereby providing tenants with additional protection.
HB 1350 Expanding the multifamily tax exemption program to include converting existing multifamily units. This bill would authorize jurisdictions to include 12-year tax exemptions for renovations of multifamily units within cities located in a county with a population greater than 300,000 in areas that have designated a low-income conversion target area, for an existing multiple unit property that is converting existing units to affordable housing.
HB 1367 Eliminating unnecessary homeless funding budget and auditing requirements.
HB 1388 Protecting tenants by prohibiting predatory residential rent practices and by applying the consumer protection act to the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act.
HB 1389 Concerning residential rent increases under the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act.
HB 1367 Eliminating unnecessary homeless funding budget and auditing requirements.
HB 1474 /SB 5496 Creating the covenant homeownership account and program to address the history of housing discrimination due to racially restrictive real estate covenants in Washington state. This bill would address past inequities in part.
HB 1507 Concerning fair housing training for officers or board members in common interest communities, would amend the RCW related to condominiums to require that officers or board members of condo associations complete a training course regarding federal and state fair housing laws.
HB 1517 Promoting transit-oriented development.
HB 1596 Providing local governments with options to increase affordable housing in their communities.
HB 1628 Increasing the supply of affordable housing by modifying the state and local real estate excise tax. This bill would apply a Real Estate Excise Tax on homes sold for more than $5 million. The tax would be on the amount greater than $5 million and the tax would be 4%. Proceeds would be used for a new Development Disabilities Trust Account to provide housing support for individuals with developmental disabilities.
SB 5045 Incentivizing rental of accessory dwelling units to low-income households, would allow counties to provide a property tax exemption for an accessory dwelling unit if certain conditions are met for as long as it is rented to a low-income household.
SB 5060 Requiring the registration of rental and vacant housing units, would require landlords to register their rental units with Department of Commerce, thereby providing a method of tracking and reporting rental rates across the state.
SB 5118 Concerning modifying the multifamily property tax exemption to promote development of long-term affordable housing. This bill would create a new 99-year property tax exemption for properties that commit to renting or selling at least 35 percent of the multifamily housing square footage as affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households.
SB 5197 Addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing technical changes to eviction notice forms and modifying certain eviction processes. This bill would add to tenant protection in eviction proceedings.
SB 5198 Concerning the sale or lease of manufactured/mobile home communities and the property on which they sit, would give substantial notice to mobile home owners of changes in the rent and ownership of the land on which their homes sit.
SB 5202 Reducing homelessness in Washington state through capital expenditures for programs that address housing insecurity.
SB 5279 Expanding a sales and use tax deferral program for affordable housing to include structures initially used as temporary employee housing for employees constructing warehouses, distribution centers, and other large facilities. The League will watch this bill. Tax benefits are typically used to encourage certain policies for statewide benefit. It is not clear that the benefit of this proposal outweighs the tax obligation.
SB 5301 Concerning housing programs administered by the department of commerce, would authorize the Housing Trust Fund administered by the Department of Commerce to support low-income residents in new ways.
SB 5334 Providing a local government option for the funding of essential affordable housing programs, would authorize local governments to establish an excise tax on the sale of or charge made for the furnishing of lodging of short-term rentals facilitated through a short-term rental platform (e.g., Air bnb). The revenue from this tax must be used exclusively for the operating and capital costs of affordable housing programs including, but not limited to, homeless housing assistance, temporary shelters, and other related services.
SB 5386 Reducing administrative complexity by increasing transparency of revenue flows for activities funded by document recording fees.
SB 5413 Concerning housing for essential needs and aged, blind, and disabled assistance programs, assures one year of rent for eligible individuals who transfer from one area of the state to another and would be at risk of losing this benefit.
SB 5435 Concerning residential rent increases under the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act.
SB 5506 Establishing an enhanced behavior support homes model, would establish a permanent supportive housing program to provide services and support to serve individuals needing behavioral health services to live independently in a community setting rather than in an institution.
SB 5637 Providing for graduated rental rate agreements under the transitional housing operating and rent program.
There are several ways to be involved in support of preventing and remediating homelessness. These include: