The Tacoma Tenants Organizing Committee, led by displaced Tiki Apartment residents, recently organized to win a range of tenant protections in Tacoma, effective February 1, 2019. We are continuing to fight for more protections for all renters across Washington by calling on the state legislature to do the following:
Assert and enforce the human right to housing:
- Codify housing as a human right into law,
- Create a statewide enforcement agency,
- Establish a statewide tenant council to help rewrite landlord tenant laws.
Keep renters in their homes with necessary eviction reforms, rent control, and other protections:
- Just Cause eviction protection (which requires landlords to provide a legitimate reason to terminate tenancy),
- Limits on rent increases and 60-day notices for any increases,
- Extended time to pay rent (from 3 to 21 days),
- Judicial discretion in the interest of justice (for example, tenants facing extenuating circumstances can avoid eviction through payment plans),
- No retaliation for organizing fellow tenants,
- Extended notice for terminations with cause,
- Relocation assistance,
- Installment payments for move-in costs,
- A centralized and more just system for checking credit history.
Fund low-income housing and prioritize investments in publicly owned housing:
- Progressive real estate excise tax (REET) on the sale of properties,
- Retain a portion of the sales tax locally,
- Dedicate public lands for public and low income housing,
- Invest in the Housing Trust Fund from the capital budget.
Ensure housing is accessible and available:
- Require developers to build low income housing near transit and in high opportunity areas,
- Provide adequate housing for people with disabilities,
- Expand the Housing and Essential Needs Program.
These changes will not only promote safe, affordable, and stable housing but also address the humanitarian and public health crisis of homelessness which must be prioritized by our legislature.