Thursday, March 23, 2023

Tenant protection bill passes WA House

Staff Report | March 7, 2023 5:25 PM

OLYMPIA — The Washington House of Representatives last week passed a bill to protect tenants from unreasonable damage claims, according to a statement from Rep. My-Linh Thai’s (D-Bellevue) office.

House Bill 1074, sponsored by Thai, is designed to protect renters from abusive rental practices, reduce housing instability and create a fairer housing market, according to the statement.

Under the bill, landlords would have 30 days to submit a statement to retain any portion of a tenant’s deposit and substantiate the cost of damages with documentation, the statement said, an increase from current state law, which provides 21 days.

If passed, the law would prohibit landlords from withholding tenant deposits in certain instances, while also protecting property owners from expenses incurred because of tenant negligence or abuse. The bill provides a three-year statute of limitations for landlords to file a lawsuit to recover any expenses exceeding a damage deposit.

“Tenants continue to tell us they are being denied deposit refunds due to unsubstantiated damage claims,” Thai wrote in the statement. “This bill doesn’t deny landlords the ability to recoup their expenses for damages; it simply ensures fair treatment of renters. As a landlord myself, this is about setting a precedent for landlords to stop charging tenants thousands of dollars in uncorroborated damages.”

The bill passed the Washington House 57-40 and now goes to the Senate.

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