Two new bills passed in the Washington state legislature this year that will affect tenants across the region. Here’s what you need to know:
- SB 5197 will allow people to testify remotely in landlord-tenant cases, at the court’s discretion. The bill allows a delay in the enforcement of a judgement if a tenant receives a pledge for financial assistance. It also extends the right to use the landlord mitigation program, to be used to reinstate tenancies due to non-payment of rents, beyond the one-year post-eviction moratorium, which it previously afforded. It also ends the requirement that the landlord send a copy of the 14-Day-Notice to the local eviction resolution pilot program before being able to file in court.
- HB 1074 permits landlords to have 30 days to refund a deposit, but imposes requirements to prove damages the landlord claims, defines normal wear and tear, and limits reporting of debts to consumer reporting agencies. The bill also adds a new three-year statute of limitations for landlords to file a lawsuit to collect on any expenses exceeding a damage deposit, for tenancies that begin after July 23, 2023. These new tenant protections apply to any collection of an unlawfully withheld security deposit, as long as it is not withheld due to nonpayment of rents.
Both bills became effective on July 23, 2023.