Gov. Inslee today signed legislation extending the requirement for pay-or-evict notices in Washington state to 14 days in an effort to pre-empt the cycle of homelessness before it begins.
Sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), Senate Bill 5600 brings Washington state into the national norm for eviction notices. Until now, Washington required only three days’ notice to tenants before an eviction, compared to 26 states and the District of Columbia that have longer notice periods.
“For people living paycheck to paycheck, now over half of Americans, extending the notice period can mean the difference between staying in their home or being out on the street,” said Kuderer. “But it’s not only help we should provide. For those facing hardships, we should offer resources, flexibility, and compassion along the way.”
SB 5600 would also make uniform eviction notices available to landlords written in plain language, including information on civil legal aid resources available to tenants and where to find translated copies of notices.
“Times have changed since the Residential Landlord Tenant Act was first enacted decades ago,” said Kuderer. “Now, too many people are one unexpected medical bill, car accident, or family illness away from eviction. These reforms will make the lives of working Washingtonians more secure.”
Additional reforms to the eviction process in the bill include the use of judicial discretion in nonpayment of rent cases, requiring consideration of factors beyond the tenants’ control. In certain cases, landlords will be able to access the Department of Commerce’s mitigation fund for reimbursement of any shortfall in rent.
“This legislation is a product of hard-earned compromise by a broad coalition of tenants’ rights advocates, private property managers, housing authorities, renters, legislators and the courts,” said Kuderer. “I especially want to thank my partner in the House, Rep. Nicole Macri, for her continued work as a steadfast advocate for people experiencing homelessness and ensuring we keep hardworking families in their homes.”
SB 5600 was passed by the House on a vote of 51-46 and by the Senate by a count of 30-18.