RHA PAC-IN ACTION

Posted By: William Shadbolt Government,

Over the course of the last year, we have seen a litany of negative changes for housing providers in Washington. This has led to an increasingly difficult task when it comes to providing housing to our neighbors. The last two legislative sessions have featured many punitive bills aimed at small housing providers and were heavily weighted in favor of tenants. RHAWA worked with our members, lawmakers, and coalition organizations to stop every piece of bad legislation introduced. 

2024 Legislative Session

Your government affairs and lobby team tracked nearly 100 bills posing negative impacts to housing providers, which included:

  • SB 6136 – Created a new Business and Occupation tax on rents.
  • SB 5770 – Tripling of the local property tax limit.
  • HB 2276/SB 6191 – A new additional 1% Real Estate Transfer Tax.
  • HB 2323/SB 6212 – Requiring housing providers to report on time rental payments.
  • SB 6211 – Limiting mobile/manufactured homes rent increases.
  • SB 6064 – $150 cap on pet deposits and banning pet rent.

RHAWA members and our Rental Housing Association Coalition partners generated thousands of contacts to legislators which was instrumental in defeating the bills we were tracking, but the most significant victory was the defeat of the SB 5961 and HB 2114 (Rent Control) which would have restricted rent increases to 7%, limited move-in fees to one month’s rent, and capped late fees at 1.5% of monthly rent. Legislators received more comments on these bills than any other bills considered. 

Tacoma Measure 1 

The most onerous set of policies in the state were voted into law by a mere 361 votes in Tacoma this past November. RHAWA and our other partners used every resource at our disposal to educate Tacoma voters against this initiative through doorbelling, public speaking, and media content. Through our efforts the initiative nearly failed in the second most progressive city in Washington. 

Local Ordinances 

Many other city councils have adopted registration and inspection programs, longer notice periods, caps on fees, and limitations on background checks. No set of policies are a carbon copy of another’s meaning housing providers may miss something required in one city versus another. These policies have led to less units available in the rental pool and as subject to the law of supply and demand, rents have gone up on the units still available. 

2024 November Election 

Just as the involvement of the 1,000+ members who participated during the 2024 legislative session proved to be effective in halting bad legislation, we are going to need that same energy, focus, and help during this upcoming campaign season. The 2024 campaign season will be very active, as for the first time in 12 years voters will decide on an open Governor’s race as well as vote for a new Attorney General, Lands Commissioner, and State Treasurer. In addition, every seat in the Washington State House of Representatives is up for election this fall along with half in the State Senate. Additionally, tenant advocates and their supporters will be aggressively seeking support of rent control in the 2025 legislative session.  

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO IT 

Our relative success in Tacoma and at the state level proves that our educational outreach and relationships with candidates sympathetic to small housing providers have helped change the way elected officials are thinking about rental housing and those that provide the housing in Washington. 

In the coming months, the RHA PAC will interview candidates running for office to determine how they will help advocate for housing providers at the local and state level. The RHA PAC donates to many candidates across the state on both sides of the aisle and we look forward to an informative and collaborative dialogue with all those running for office. We value and appreciate all the support from our members to the RHA PAC which gives us the ability to continue advocating for you.  

Electing moderate, reasonable lawmakers is the crucial first step in fighting bad legislation at the local and state level. RHAWA works to elect bi-partisan candidates who: 

  • Recognize rental housing as a valuable asset to communities,
  • Share a strong commitment to allowing rental housing to function as a market-based industry,
  • Have a willingness to work with the rental housing industry toward the common goal of providing safe and healthy housing.

Donating to our PAC is one of the main ways you can support the entirety of our membership – donate by visiting RHAwa.org/products/pac or complete the enclosed donation form and return it via mail. The average donation is $50-$100, but feel free to give however much you like (we do have members donating up to $2,000). If this is your first time donating, feel free to start small, as every contribution helps. Many small donations add up to huge changes in our legislative landscape. Each member who donates for the first time is taking a crucial step in defending their rights as a small housing provider. 

If you donate regularly, thank you. Let’s conitnue to change the tide of local politics in Washington state: this is your chance to increase your donation, bolster the RHA PAC, and make crucial changes in Washington.

We hope to continue collaborating with lawmakers from all political parties to ensure that any policy passed is drafted to benefit all those involved. However, without pro-rental housing candidates in office, your rights as a housing provider will continue to be eroded and threatened. Our government affairs team will continue to advocate for your rights, but we cannot do it alone. Please contribute to the RHA PAC.

FUNDRAISER SYNOPSIS

The RHA PAC held its first fundraiser of the season on May 1st at Tacoma Country and Golf Club. RHA would like to give a thank you to the venue and the TCGC team for helping the RHA PAC put on a fabulous event with a great spread of food and drinks.

Image_1718649624629We had a wonderful turnout of not only RHAWA members and concerned citizens of the community, but a large turnout of elected officials and candidates. The RHA PAC was pleased to welcome Representative Kelly Chambers from the 25th District and Representative Michelle Caldier from the 26th District. Representative Chambers is campaigning for the Pierce County Executive seat as current executive Bruce Dammeier has termed out, and Representative Caldier is running to retain her seat. We were also pleased to welcome candidates Jim Henderson for the other 26th District Representative seat, Maia Espinoza for the 28th District Senate seat and LJ Rohrer campaigning for 6th District on the Pierce County Council. 

The event presented an optimal opportunity to speak about all that has occurred in the South Sound with Tacoma Measure 1 which only passed by 361 votes, and Olympia’s new ordinance passed by the city council. It was also a great discussion for statewide rental housing issues and important districts to watch during the November election, and how the election could vastly alter the outlook and numbers in the legislature come the 2025 120-day state legislative session in January. 

A man with a name tag that says ' chris ' on itThank you to all that turned out and donated their time and money at our first event of the year, and we look forward to seeing everyone all together again soon. 

It has been a busy month for RHA all over the state turning out to support elected officials who have really made a difference for our industry. Rent Control in the senate was stopped this year due to one member of the senate and that was Senator Annette Cleveland from the 49th District which encompasses much of the Vancouver area. RHAWA Executive Director Sean Flynn and Deputy Director Melissa Canfield joined Senator Cleveland at her kickoff fundraising event at the end of April.

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PAC contributions support the political campaigns of RHAWA-endorsed candidates. The RHA PAC is non-partisan and supports both sides of the aisle. Membership dues do not fund the PAC - all contributions are voluntary.