Tacoma Tenant Protections

Amended Substitute Ordinance No (1)

Tacoma Tenant Protections

Tacoma City Council Passed Ordinance 28894

On Tuesday, July 11, 2020, the Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance 28894, which made some major changes to the Tacoma Rental Housing Code, specifically adding certain tenant protections to the code.

The ordinance will go into effect on Monday, July 24 2023 and you will need to comply with these changes starting then.

As always, this is not legal advice, just an overview of changes so you can be aware of compliance issues. Please check with your leadership, owners and legal counsel before making any changes to your processes.

Distribution of Information (under 1.95.030)

  • Must distribute additional information on tenancy
    • right to pay installments for:
      • security deposits
      • non-refundable move-in fees
      • last month’s rent

Rental Due Date (under 1.95.037)

  • Must allow tenant to request a rent due date change
    • Must be based on source of income delivery date

Tenant Screening (under 1.95.035)

  • Cannot use social security number for screening
  • Proof of income
    • Portable screening report or alternative proofs of income
  • Limited criminal screening
    • No blanket felony prohibition
    • Can deny for:
      • Sex offenses
      • Violent offense against landlord, employee or tenant
      • Arson
      • Manufacturing or distribution of controlled substance
    • Cannot deny for:
      • An arrest that did not result in a conviction
      • Participation or completion of diversion or deferral program
      • Conviction that has been dismissed, expunged, voided or invalidated
      • Conviction for crime no longer illegal in Washington
      • Misdemeanor older than 3 years
      • Felony conviction older than 7 years (other than those listed above)
  • Financial Responsibility (Income Qualification)
    • Cannot require:
      • More than 3x monthly rent for units below market value (HUD)
      • More than 2.5x monthly rent for units below market value (HUD)

Dog Breeds (under 1.95.037)

  • May not ban dog breeds, generally
    • Unless required by insurance carrier

Pet Deposit (under 1.95.040)

  • May not charge more than 25% of monthly rent as pet deposit
    • Deposit may only be used to pay for pet damage

Rent Increase Notification (under 1.95.060)

  • Must provide 120 day notification
    • For all increases

Late Fees (under 1.95.065)

  • Late fee limited to 1.5% of monthly rent
    • Capped at $75

Amended Ordinance Full Text – PDF LINK

This blog post does NOT constitute as legal advice. 

The Landlord-Tenant Laws in Washington State are always changing. It is advisable to consult your attorney to verify your compliance with your industry requirements as well as local, state, and federal law.
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