Burien City Council Passes Extreme Housing Provider Regulations

Posted By: Alex Robertson Policy News,

The City of Burien met on October 24, 2022 to discuss a suite of rental regulations that go far beyond the harmful policies recommended by A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH). Ordinance 804, which Council passed, does the following:

Use of SSN in Screening 
  • A housing provider shall not require a social security number for the purposes of screening a prospective tenant, as allowed under RCW 59.18.257.
Portable Tenant Screening Reports
  • Housing providers are required to accept “alternative proof of financial eligibility such as portable screening reports”
Move-In Cost Cap
  • The total of all move-in fees and deposits charged by landlord must not exceed one month's rent, except in subsidized housing where the monthly rent is based on the tenants income.
Move-In Cost Payment Plan
  • Tenants entering rental agreements with terms lasting six or more months may choose to pay their move in fees and security deposits in six equal monthly installments over the first six months occupying the dwelling unit.
  • Tenants entering rental agreements with terms lasting fewer than six months or month-to-month rental agreements, may choose to pay move in fees and security deposits in two equal monthly installments over the first two months occupying the dwelling unit.
Mandatory Lease Renewal
  • A housing provider cannot refuse to continue a tenancy after the rental agreement expires without cause.
Notice to Increase Rent

When raising rent at the beginning of a rental period or term lease renewal, landlords must give:

  • 120 days' written notice for rent increases greater than three percent (3%); or
  • 180 days' written notice for rent increases greater than ten percent (10%).
  • As required under WA State law, 60 days' written notice for any rent increases 3% or less.

If the rental agreement governs subsidized housing where the amount of rent is based on the income of the tenant or circumstances specific to the subsidized household, the landlord shall provide a minimum of thirty (30) days' prior written notice of an increase in the amount of rent to each affected tenant.

Unilateral Lease Termination
  • Tenants who receive any rent increase may terminate the tenancy, without penalty, at any time prior to the rent increase becoming effective. 
  • All rent increase notices must be served and must inform the tenant of this right.
Late Rent Fee Cap
  • Late fees and penalties due to nonpayment of rent charged to a tenant shall not exceed $10.00, including notice service or legal fees.
Required Pay or Vacate Notice Language
  • All 14 day Pay or Vacate Notices must include the following in 16-point bold font: “You have 14 days to pay the rent required by this notice. After 14 days, you may pay the rent but will have to include a late fee totaling at most $10.00 per month for each month of rent owed. If the landlord has started a court case to evict you and the case is filed in court, you will need to pay court costs as well before the hearing date to avoid eviction.”
Rent Due Date Accommodation
  • Housing provider must accept a tenant’s proposal to change rent due date if their primary source of income is a fixed source or governmental assistance that is not received until after the date rent is due per the agreement.