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Rental Housing Code (TMC 1.95)

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Washington State Eviction Moratorium Information

Washington State, under the authority of Governor Jay Inslee, has ordered an eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020.


Originally established in mid-March 2020, the moratorium has been extended twice, most recently on July 23, 2020. The order protects tenants from eviction for an inability to pay rent due to the impacts of COVID-19.


Under the eviction moratorium, landlords/property managers of residential property cannot:

  • Serve or threaten to serve notices to terminate tenancy, unless there is an immediate risk to the health, safety or property of others; or the owner is going to occupy or sell the property.
  • Seek or enforce, or threaten to seek or enforce, judicial eviction orders, unless there is an immediate risk to the health, safety or property of others; or the owner is going to occupy or sell the property.
  • Charge or threaten to charge late fees for unpaid or late rent from February 29, 2020 through the moratorium.
  • Increase or threaten to increase rent during the duration of the moratorium.
  • Retaliate against tenants for exercising their rights under the moratorium.
  • Treat unpaid rent as collectable debt (can’t send to collections, attempt to collect or threaten to collect, report to credit bureaus or start the eviction process), unless tenant refuses or defaults on a reasonable repayment plan that meets the tenant’s financial health and other circumstances of the individual.

Under the eviction moratorium, law enforcement cannot:

  • Serve or threaten to serve residential eviction orders, unless the Court’s order is based on an immediate risk to the health, safety or property of others; or the owner is going to occupy or sell the property.

Under the eviction moratorium, landlords/property managers of commercial property cannot:

  • Increase or threaten to increase rent during the duration of the moratorium.

To file a complaint, visit the Attorney General’s page.

 

For more information about the Eviction Moratorium and other Washington State measures to address the pandemic, visit coronavirus.wa.gov.

 

 

Tacoma's Rental Housing Code Information

 

 

 

 

 

Tacoma City Council Passes Rental Housing Code

On November 20, 2018, the Tacoma City Council passed the Rental Housing Code providing protections for tenants and specific guidance to landlords who operate residential rental businesses in Tacoma. The Rental Housing Code also includes a provision for housing relocation assistance to qualifying tenants and allows the City to investigate complaints and enforce the code.

 

New Requirements for Landlords:  

  • 120-day notice to vacate and relocation assistance for low-income tenants when a landlord intends to change the use, substantially rehabilitate, or demolish a dwelling unit 
  • 60-day notice to vacate for no-cause termination of tenancy 
  • 60-day notice requirement for rent increases
  • A requirement that landlords distribute information about tenant rights as well as landlord and tenant responsibilities 

New Tenant Protections: 

  • Prohibits retaliation against tenants for exercising their rights under the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18, RLTA) 
  • Allows installment payments for various deposits and fees 
  • Codification of relocation assistance when the City declares a building uninhabitable 
  • Provides relocation assistance for qualifying termination of tenancy of low-income tenants 
  • Allows tenants to file a complaint and for the City of Tacoma to investigate and enforce the code

Does this Ordinance Apply to Me? 

If you own, operate or rent residential rental property within the Tacoma city limits, the Rental Housing Code applies to you.  Verify if your rental property is within the Tacoma city limits.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Rental Housing Code?

On November 20, 2018, the Tacoma City Council passed the Rental Housing Code (TMC 1.95).  The Rental Housing Code (RHC) provides protections for tenants and provides specific guidance to landlords who own or operate residential rental property in Tacoma, and includes a provision for relocation assistance to low-income tenants who are displaced under certain circumstances.   

The Rental Housing Code permanently replaces the City’s temporary Ordinance 25508 which will sunset on January 31, 2019.  

Why did the City pass the Rental Housing Code?

The City of Tacoma recognizes that the rental market in Tacoma is drastically changing. In an effort to gain and sustain housing stability and to protect the most vulnerable populations, the City, working in collaboration with stakeholder groups that included housing providers, tenants, realtors, and legal representatives, established Tacoma Municipal Code 1.95.

Does the Rental Housing Code replace the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18)?

The Rental Housing Code does not replace the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18, RLTA).  However, it does expand certain protections under the RLTA and allows the City of Tacoma to regulate and enforce on violations.

What is required in the Rental Housing Code?

The Rental Housing Code includes:

  • 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 swelling unit
  • 60-day notice to vacate for no-cause eviction
  • 60-day notice requirement rent increases
  • A requirement that landlords distribute certain information
  • Prohibits retaliation against tenants for exercising their rights
  • Allows installment payments for various deposits and fees
  • Codification of relocation assistance when the City declares a building uninhabitable
  • Provides authority to enforce violations.    

When will the permanent Rental Housing Ordinance become effective?

The new ordinance will be fully in effect February 1, 2019.

The "Notice to increase rent" portion of the ordinance is effective December 7, 2018.

Does Rental Housing Code apply to me?

The Rental Housing Code applies to anyone who owns, operates or rents residential rental property within the city of Tacoma limits.

Contact Us

 

Customer Support Center
747 Market Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
311 or (253) 591-5000

 

Helpful Links

 

Rental Housing Code

Rental Housing Code Flyer

Washington State Residential Landlord Tenant Act