I wanted to provide a brief re-cap of some of the bills we supported at Hill Day. Keep in mind many of these bills will die this session but some of them, especially middle housing, have a lot of bipartisan support. As the session progresses and you want to check on these bills, here is the legislature’s bill information page: Bill Information (wa.gov) Many, if not all of these have a companion bill in the opposite chamber. Many of these bills strive to increase the housing supply in our state which our state desperately needs.
Description: “Middle Housing” types are duplex to sixplex units, townhouses, cottage houses, and other smaller housing types that fit within existing residential neighborhoods. The lack of housing supply is caused by lack of building land, and antiquated city zoning that locks up over 70% of residential land solely for single-family housing. Allowing middle housing in all residential areas would still allow single-family housing, but provide more options to increase housing supply and affordable homeownership.
- HB 1110 sponsored by Rep. Bateman
A fully-planning city with a population of at least 6,000, or a city located within a contiguous urban growth area with a city with a population above 200,000, must authorize the development of:
- at least four units per lot on all lots zoned for residential use;
- six units per lot in all residential zones if at least two of the units are affordable; and
- six units per lot in all residential zones within one half-mile of a major transit stop.
- SB 5364 sponsored by Sen. Frame (Lot Splitting)
- The resulting lots are at least 1,500 square feet;
- The resulting lots are at least 40 percent of the size of the original lot;
Detached ADUs outside the UGA:
Description: The housing supply crisis is not just an urban problem. While some counties have enacted ordinances allowing detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in rural areas, other county ADU ordinances have been rejected by the Growth Hearings Boards. In these counties, large attached ADUs could be built, but smaller more affordable ADUs are prohibited. This legislation is based on a recent detached ADU ordinance adopted in Snohomish County with bipartisan and unanimous support, and that was not appealed to the Growth Board. The bill allows detached ADUs, but regulates the size, appearance, and location of detached ADUs in rural areas.
Condo Liability & Increased Production:
Description: Condominiums are the most affordable type of homeownership, but the supply of new condominiums in Washington is among the worst in the country. This bill improves the condominium market by improving the process to repair condominium defects (“Right to Cure”), streamlines the process for construction of smaller condominium projects, ensures reasonable impact fees for condominiums, and provides a condominium tax incentive for certain qualified first-time homebuyers.
Exempting residential sale/leaseback from the Landlord-Tenant Act
Description: When a house is sold, sometimes the seller is not yet ready to move out, or the buyer is not able to move in. In this situation, the buyer and seller will agree to a written “leaseback” as part of the sale so that the seller stays in the house after closing for a certain period of time. This is not a typical landlord-tenant type situation, so this bill would clarify that a sale/leaseback is exempt from the state’s landlord-tenant act.
Improve Consumer Protections in Real Estate Agency Law
Description: Washington State’s real estate agency law, Chapter 18.86 RCW, has not been updated since its adoption in the 1990s. Existing law does not require certain basic consumer protections, and does not reflect modern industry best practices. This legislation will both protect consumers and avoid litigation seen in other states. For example, the bill would improve disclosures of real estate broker duties, require a written buyer agency agreement for a broker to be compensated, require terms of compensation in writing, and ensure that the legal duties of brokers protect all parties in a transaction – not just the broker’s own client.
- SB 5191 Sponsored by Sen. Stanford
Transit Oriented Development- Governor’s Bill
Description: Washington State’s multi-billion dollar transit investments necessitate land use and zoning near transit that increases housing supply and community services for transit users. Transit-Oriented Development (“TOD”) regulations would apply in areas next to the largest transit facilities like light rail to ensure that new housing supply is commensurate with the State’s transit investments. Cities would have flexibility to allow different types of TOD near station areas.
- SB 5466 sponsored by Sen. Gildon