Legislation that May Impact Your Multi-Family Property in 2016

WMFHA has provided an additional list of legislation to be aware of for 2016.  Listed by WMFHA as “medium-priority,” the following bills are currently being monitored.  Currently, none of the legislative bills below have become official but we recommend becoming familiar with what upcoming changes may be impacting our industry as the year progresses.

HB 1573 / SSB 5221: Allows for Disposition of Tenant’s Property after Eviction
The bill allows a landlord to dispose of any tenant property that has been removed from the unit during a physical eviction after a 5-day waiting period. The bill passed the Senate in 2015 by a vote of 47 – 0. The House version is dead but the Senate bill remains alive for 2016.

HB 2544SB 6239: Authorizes Multifamily Tax Exemptions for Existing Buildings
These bills authorize local governments to grant real estate tax exemptions to existing multifamily properties for 15 years under certain conditions. The bills expand the existing program that allows for tax exemptions for new construction.

2SHB 1278: Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure
This bill mandates an energy benchmarking requirement similar to the one in existence in Seattle. Property owners would be required to supply energy data using the EPA website.

HB 1824: Long Life Smoke Detectors
This bill requires retailers to only sell “long life smoke detectors” beginning July 1, 2017. These detectors have a lithium battery that the supporters of the bill claim will last 10 years. The bill does not impose any duties on owners or property managers although the language might change.

HB 1609 / SB 5846: Creates Exemptions to Plumbing and Electrical Codes

These bills would eliminate the need for using a licensed electrician or plumber for minor repairs or modifications.

SB 5185: Creates a 6-Year Timeframe for Substantial Building Code Amendments
The summary of the bill says it all.

SSB 5218: Allowing Use of Unlawful Detainer for At-Will Tenancies
Adds a new section to the unlawful detainer statutes (RCW 59.12) and would require a 30-day notice to terminate an at-will tenancy.

SSB 5219: Allowing a 3-day Notice to Pay Rent to Include All Fees
This would allow a landlord to include late fees and other fees such as utilities in a 3-day notice to pay rent. The bill has been amended to make clear that a 3-day notice could only be used if rent and other charges were owing. A 3-day could not be used only for other charges.

SB 5220: Allowing for Money Judgments Against Tenants After Alternate Service
Modifies existing statute regarding service of eviction lawsuits by posting and mailing. This would allow for a money judgment to be entered if the tenant answers and defends against the lawsuit.

HB 1866 / SB 5259: Requires Landlords to Provide Voter Registration Information to Tenants
Creates a new duty for landlords to provide voter registration information to new tenants at time of move-in.

SHB 1929 / SB 5446: Requiring Electric Car Charging Stations
These bills would require local governments to offer incentives to developers and owners of new and existing multifamily properties for installation of charging stations for electric cars.

wmfha_logoThe Washington Multi-Family Housing Association is the Washington State chapter of the National Apartment Association.  A collection of over 90 Property Management companies and owners of multifamily properties, with 950 Apartment Communities representing 165,000 apartment homes, and more than 200 industry suppliers working together to promote and enrich the multifamily housing industry in Washington state. 

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