Today the Washington State Senate unanimously passed SB 5399, legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) to protect homeowners from unfair contracts with real estate agents. The contracts, known as future listing contracts, provide the homeowner a small up-front cash payment in exchange for the homeowner committing to contracting with a certain real estate agent should they ever sell their home. These contracts can extend for decades, cost tens of thousands of dollars to escape from, and limit homeowners’ ability to refinance or pull equity from their home.

Consumer protection journalist Jesse Jones helped raise attention to the issue. Jones connected with people who had signed these contracts and their families who felt taken advantage of and shared their stories with the public.

Mullet’s bill would ensure that no future listing contract could extend for longer than two years.

“I have a lot of respect for our Washington realtors who do good work helping folks buy and sell their homes. It’s disappointing that a few bad actors in the market have been taking advantage of people, but the Legislature is going to put a stop to that,” said Mullet. “I appreciate the work that Jesse Jones has done to bring attention to this issue and share the stories of people who’ve been taken advantage of by deceptive contracts, and I’m glad to have had the chance to do my part by moving this bill.”

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.