Tacoma City Council Passes Rental Housing Code Ordinance Restricting Landlords

Tacoma rental housing code ordinance

The Tacoma City Council has passed a new Rental Housing Code ordinance that sets out new rules for landlords who want to do extensive renovation of apartments and need to move tenants out.

The Rental Housing Code outlines notice requirements including:
• 120-day notice to vacate and relocation assistance for low-income tenants authorized by RCW 59.18.440, when a landlord intends to change the use, substantially rehabilitate, or demolish a dwelling unit.
• 60-day notice to vacate for no-cause eviction
• 60-day notice requirement for rent increase

The new Rental Housing Code also provides a requirement that landlords:

  • Distribute certain information
  • Prohibits retaliation
  • Allows installment payments for various deposits and fees
  • Provides authority to enforce violations, as well as codification of relocation assistance when the City declares a building uninhabitable.

The Rental Housing Code, which passed unanimously on November 20, permanently replaces the City’s temporary tenant protections that will sunset on January 31, 2019.

“In recent months, we have heard the stories of Tacoma residents whose lives were upended and put into crisis by eviction notices,” Mayor Victoria Woodards said in a release.

“… with the adoption of the rental housing code, we are taking a step to provide stability for renters in an increasingly expensive and tumultuous housing market,” she said.

The city said in the release “the Rental Housing Code was created through collaborative process that listened to both landlords and tenants to determine how to create policy that helps address protection needs while continuing to make Tacoma a place businesses want to operate.”

Some push back by landlords

However there was some push back by some landlords in Tacoma – some told city council the government overreach in the new ordinance could force property owners to sell their buildings and abandon their job as landlords altogether.

“I am proud the City has taken steps to prevent something like what happened at the Tiki apartments from happening again, and I appreciate the hard work from staff, landlords, and tenants that went into crafting these regulations,” Council Member Keith Blocker said in the release.

The “Notice to Increase Rent” portion of the ordinance will be effective 10 days after the publication of the ordinance, but no penalties will be issued before February 1, 2019 when the full ordinance goes into effect.


Tacoma City Council Approves New Rental Housing Code

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