TACOMA ENACTS NEW TENANT RIGHTS ORDINANCES
In November 2018, the Tacoma City Council enacted sweeping new ordinances aimed at residential tenant protections. Many of the new rules are very similar to rules enacted by the City of Seattle.
The new rules include the following:
1.95.020 – Definitions (Notable definitions)
“Housing Costs” – mirrors City of Seattle Definition in regards to utilities.
“Non Refundable Move-in fees” – covers administrative, pet, or damages fees, including cleaning fees. Holding Fee excluded.
1.95.030 – Distribution of Information
(a) Distribution of resources by Landlord – Upon application, LL shall provide T with LL’s written rental criteria AND City of Tacoma informational website address.
(b) Distribution of informational packets by Landlord – When a rental agreement is offered (renewals included) LL must provide a copy of the summaries prepared by City of Tacoma (similar to Seattle requirements). Renewals may be served with a copy of the packets electronically.
* Landlord must prove initial distribution of packets by having tenant sign for receipt. If Tenant refuses to sign for receipt, LL may draft a declaration stating the packet was provided. Subsequent distributions may be served electronically.
(c) Inclusion of resource summary in all 59.12.030 notices – Landlord required to include a copy of a resource summary (prepared by City) with each notice under RCW 59.12.030.
1.95.040 – Deposit requirements and installment options
(a) Installment for Deposits – Upon tenant’s request, may pay security deposit, non-refundable move-in fees, and/or last months rent in installments (so long as total exceeds 25% of 1st months rent).
(b) Tenancies 3 months or longer – 3 consecutive, equal installments starting with first month.
(c) Tenancies 2 months or less, including month to month – 2 equal installments, 1st at commencement, 2nd on 1st day of 2nd month.
(d) Failure to pay installment – landlord allowed to issue a 10 day comply or vacate notice, also may accelerate remaining installment payments.
1.95.050 – Reasonable Accommodation requests
* LL shall review and comply with all reasonable accommodation requests
1.95.060 – Rent increase requirements EFFECTIVE 12-1-18
* Minimum of 60 days notice required for all rent increases (any amount).
1.95.070 – No Cause Notice to Vacate Requirements
(a) wording is a bit difficult to understand clearly, but it may apply to fixed term leases
(b) Displacement due to development activity (demo, change of use, removal of use restrictions, substantial rehab) – LL must provide 120 day notice to tenant and serve a Tenant Relocation Info Packet (obtained by applying at City).
(c) Notices generally
* must list name of the tenant and dwelling unit number
* proof must be made by a declaration or affidavit from the person providing the notice
(d) Additional requirements for displacement for Development activity – tenant may request a in person meeting with LL to discuss termination. LL then must schedule, notify tenant in writing, and hold such meeting within 20 days of the request at a time and location convenient for all parties.
1.95.080 – Tacoma Tenant Relocation Assistance
* Process detailed in ordinance, similar to Seattle but not exactly the same.
* Eligible low income tenants entitled to $2000 in relocation expenses (per state law, LL should only be liable of 1/2 ). * Adjusted annually.
1.95.090 – Compliance and Enforcement
* Effective date – 2-1-19 (except rent increase notices (12-1-18)).
* Issuance of a 60 day “no cause termination notice” deemed a violation if demo, rehab, or change of use of unit occurs within 90 days after tenant vacates.
– Failure to provide tenant information packets, deposit requirements and installment payments, improper rent increase – $500 for 1st violation, $1000 per subsequent violation.
– Violation of Tacoma Tenant Relocation – $250 per day, per dwelling unit for 1st 10 days, then $500 per day thereafter.