wa-law.org > bill > 2023-24 > SB 5060 > Substitute Bill

SB 5060 - Rental & vacant properties


Section 1

The legislature finds that the lack of sufficient affordable housing inventory, specifically rental housing, is deeply felt statewide. To accurately track and maintain the level of rental housing in this state, the legislature intends with this act to require the registration of rental and vacant properties.

Section 2

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

  1. "Department" means the department of commerce.

  2. "Director" means the director of the department of commerce.

  3. "Housing unit" means any structure or part of a structure that is used or may be used by one or more persons as a home, residence, dwelling, or sleeping place including, but not limited to, single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes; multifamily units, apartment units, condominium units, rooming-house units, microdwelling units, housekeeping units, single-room occupancy units, and accessory dwelling units; mobile homes; short-term rentals that are not owner occupied or the owner's primary residence upon listing of unit; and any other structure having similar living accommodations.

  4. "Mobile home" means a manufactured home or a mobile home as in RCW 59.20.030.

  5. "Owner" has the same meaning as in RCW 59.18.030.

  6. "Rental housing unit" means a housing unit that is or may be available for rent, or is occupied or rented by a tenant or subtenant in exchange for any form of consideration.

  7. "Short-term rental" has the same meaning as in RCW 64.37.010.

  8. "Vacant housing unit" means a housing unit that is not a principal residence of the owner, the owner's family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the calendar year; or is not rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the calendar year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days.

Section 3

  1. Except as provided in section 5 of this act, in cities with populations of 130,000 or more:

    1. All rental housing units must be registered with the department every two years when:

      1. A tenant occupies the rental housing unit; or

      2. The rental housing unit is made available or listed as a rental housing unit;

    2. All vacant housing units must be registered with the department every two years.

  2. Monthly rental rates for rental housing units under subsection (1)(a) of this section must also be reported to the department at the time of registration.

  3. The registration fee for each initial rental housing unit or vacant housing unit is $70, plus a fee of $15 for each additional unit. Fee revenue must be deposited into the rental property registration account created in section 4 of this act.

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    1. The current registration information for a rental housing unit or vacant housing unit must be updated within 60 days after the sale is closed on the rental housing unit or vacant housing unit.

    2. Any change in information contained in an initial or renewal registration application must be updated within 60 days.

    3. The department may deny or revoke a rental housing unit registration based on a failure to comply with this subsection (4).

  5. The department must create and maintain a website that tracks and discloses statewide rental and vacant housing unit inventory in real time as well as reported monthly rental rate data. The department must also provide landlords who manage or own four or fewer rental housing units with resources or information regarding rental assistance programming.

Section 4

The rental property registration account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts from section 3(3) of this act must be deposited into the account. Expenditures from the account may be used only for: Programs that provide legal representation in eviction cases; distributions to local governments to assist in inspections of rental housing units; and administration purposes. Only the director or the director's designee may authorize expenditures from the account. The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but an appropriation is not required for expenditures.

Section 5

  1. The registration requirements under section 3 of this act do not apply to the following housing units:

    1. A housing unit lawfully used as a short-term rental that is the primary residence of the rental owner;

    2. A housing unit rented for less than one year because the property owner, who lives in the unit, takes a work-related leave of absence or assignment that temporarily transfers them to another location;

    3. A room for rent in an owner-occupied home;

    4. A housing unit in hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, or in similar accommodations that provide lodging for guests;

    5. A housing unit in facilities licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 18.20, 70.128, or 72.36 RCW;

    6. A housing unit in any state licensed hospital, hospice, community care facility, intermediate care facility, or nursing home;

    7. A housing unit in any convent, monastery, or other facility occupied exclusively by members of a religious order or congregation;

    8. Emergency or temporary shelter or transitional housing accommodations;

    9. A housing unit owned, operated, or managed by a major educational or medical institution or by a third party for the institution; and

    10. A housing unit owned, operated, or managed by a government entity or housing authority, or unit exempted from municipal regulation by federal, state, or local law.

  2. Any property owner with a rental housing unit within a city with a population of at least 700,000 that administers a rental property registration program or within a city that requires residential landlords to obtain a business license is not subject to the registration requirement under section 3(1)(a) of this act or the applicable fee requirements under this chapter; however, the local jurisdiction or agency that administers such city's rental property registration program or landlord licensing program must report program data to the department monthly.

Section 6

The owner of a rental housing unit may not end a tenancy or evict a tenant from the rental housing unit under RCW 59.18.650, except for the cause listed under RCW 59.18.650(2)(c), unless the unit is registered under this chapter.

Section 7

The department may adopt any rules necessary to implement this chapter.

Section 8

(1) Money in the treasurer's trust fund may be deposited, invested, and reinvested by the state treasurer in accordance with RCW 43.84.080 in the same manner and to the same extent as if the money were in the state treasury, and may be commingled with moneys in the state treasury for cash management and cash balance purposes.

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