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Tacoma City Council Approves New Rental Housing Code

Tacoma City Council Approves New Rental Housing Code


November 20, 2018


Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051

Tacoma City Council Approves New Rental Housing Code


The Tacoma City Council approved a new ordinance that will provide better protections for tenants and provide specific guidance to landlords who operate businesses in Tacoma, which will encourage more housing stability.

“In recent months, we have heard the stories of Tacoma residents whose lives were upended and put into crisis by eviction notices,” said Mayor Victoria Woodards. “Tonight, with the adoption of the rental housing code, we are taking a step to provide stability for renters in an increasingly expensive and tumultuous housing market.”

The Rental Housing Code, which passed unanimously on November 20, permanently replaces the City’s temporary tenant protections that will sunset on January 31, 2019.

“With this ordinance we’re taking a huge step forward to protect the rights of tenants in our community, while preserving rental supply in the market as much as possible,” said Council Member Catherine Ushka.

The Rental Housing Code outlines notice requirements including:
• 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 dwelling unit.
• 60-day notice to vacate for no-cause eviction
• 60-day notice requirement for rent increase

The new Rental Housing Code also provides a requirement that landlords distribute certain information; prohibits retaliation; allows installment payments for various deposits and fees; provides authority to enforce violations, as well as codification of relocation assistance when the City declares a building uninhabitable.

The Rental Housing Code was created through collaborative process that listened to both landlords and tenants to determine how to create policy that helps address protection needs while continuing to make Tacoma a place businesses want to operate.

“I am proud the City has taken steps to prevent something like what happened at the Tiki apartments from happening again, and I appreciate the hard work from staff, landlords, and tenants that went into crafting these regulations,” said Council Member Keith Blocker.

The “Notice to Increase Rent” portion of the ordinance will be effective 10 days after the publication of the ordinance, but no penalties will be issued before February 1, 2019 when the full ordinance goes into effect.

More information about the City’s Landlord-Tenant Program is available at cityoftacoma.org/OEHR