Washington Legislative Update 2021

Washington 2021 Legislative Session Begins

The WA REALTORS® team is currently tracking over 200 bills this legislative session. The next key cutoff is March 9th when all bills must pass their house of origin or else they are dead for this session.

Key issues this session for REALTORS® are: Capital Gains Tax, a .25% Payroll Tax on anyone making over $150k annually, Housing Density, Racial Covenants, Landlord/Tenant Regulations, Climate Change Regulations for Housing, a Digital Ad Tax and a large increase in the Unemployment Tax.

Key Bills to Watch

Wa REALTOR Priorities

  • Capital Gain TaxesSB 5096 – Concerning an excise tax on gains from the sale or exchange of certain capital assets. Negotiations removed the sale of property from the capital gain tax. Passed by both houses and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
  • Removing Racial CovenantsHB 1335 – Concerning review and property owner notification of recorded documents with unlawful racial restrictions. Passed both the House and the Senate, but is now shaped as a program that will be done by universities in a more targeted approach.
  • Condo ReformSB 5024 Spokane Valley Senator Mike Padden’s bill – Reducing barriers to condominium construction. This bill has now passed both the Senate and the House. 
  • GMA/Density – SHB 1157 Increasing housing supply through the growth management act and housing density tax incentives for local governments. This bill passed the House, but died in the Senate.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units in Rural AreasHB 1298/SB 5221 Concerning regulation of accessory dwelling units located outside of urban growth areas. Both bills are considered dead this session.
  • Protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure HB1410 – Sponsored by local Rep. Mike Volz, this bill addresses the penalties and interest payments on property taxes. This bill passed the House and the Senate.
  • Fair Housing Training for REALTORS®SB5378 Would require additional clock hours for Fair Housing Training. Has passed the Senate and the House.

Additional Housing Related Bills

Landlord Tenant

SB 5160 – Landlord Tenant Rule Changes – Addressing landlord-tenant relations by providing certain tenant protections during and after public health emergencies, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, and authorizing landlord access to state rental assistance programs. WA REALTORS® reports having success in removing the 2-year extension of the eviction moratorium clause. This has been signed into law by the governor.

HB 1236 – Just Cause Evictions – Protecting residential tenants from the beginning to end of their tenancies by penalizing the inclusion of unlawful lease provisions and limiting the reasons for eviction, refusal to continue, and termination. The list of just cause categories is now 16. This passed both the House and the Senate.

SB 5139 – Limiting rent increases after expiration of the governor’s eviction moratorium.. This bill died in committee.

HB 1228 – Addressing residential landlord-tenant requirements in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This bill died in committee.

HB 1189 – Authorizing tax increment financing for local governments. Passed by the House and the Senate.

HB 1300 – Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords’ claims for damage to residential premise. This bill died in committee.

Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas

HB 1099 – Improving the state’s climate response through updates to the state’s comprehensive planning framework. A new version of this bill has been added, but died in the House.

HB 1084/SB 5093 – Reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by achieving greater de-carbonization of residential and commercial buildings. Both bills died in committee.

HB 1125 – Incentivizing investment in energy conservation and efficiency measures and expanding opportunities for energy rate discounts to, among other objectives, reduce the energy burden of low-income customers and vulnerable populations. This bill died in committee.

SB 5312 – Facilitating transit-oriented development and increasing housing inventory. This bill died in committee.

HB 1117 – Promoting salmon recovery through revisions to the state’s comprehensive planning framework. This bill died in committee

HB 1496 – Creating a more progressive tax system in Washington by enacting an excise tax on sales and extraordinary profits of high valued assets. This bill died in committee.

SB 5601 – Concerning unemployment insurance. This bill has passed both the House and the Senate, and has been signed by the Governor into law.

SB 5171 – Providing unemployment insurance relief. This bill died in committee.

SB 5211 – Authorizing tax increment financing for local governments. This bill died in committee.

HB1189/SB 5033 – Limiting the property tax exemption for improvements to single-family dwellings to the construction of accessory dwelling units. The House version passed and has been approved by the Senate.

SB 5138 – Eliminating a business and occupation tax deduction for financial institutions to fund affordable housing. This bill died in committee.

HB 1070 – Modifying allowed uses of local tax revenue for affordable housing and related services to include the acquisition and construction of affordable housing and facilities. Passed and has been signed into law.

HB 1277/SB5279 – $100 doc recording fee increase to provide for an additional revenue source for eviction prevention and housing stability services. The House version has been passed by the House and the Senate.

Affordable Housing

SB 5012 – Providing a local government option for the funding of essential affordable housing program. This bill died in committee.

SB 5138 – Eliminating a business and occupation tax deduction for financial institutions to fund affordable housing. This bill died in committee.

Growth Management Act

SB 5042 – Concerning the effective date of certain actions taken under the growth management act. This bill has become somewhat controversial and has undergone several amendments. This bill died in committee.

HB 1099 – Improving the state’s climate response through updates to the state’s comprehensive planning framework.  New language has been added that sets greenhouse gas and vehicle mileage reduction standards for the top 10 counties in the state. This bill died in committee.

HB 1117 – Promoting salmon recovery through revisions to the state’s comprehensive planning framework. This bill died in committee.

HB1232 – Planning for affordable housing under the growth management act – This would add provisions for the “missing middle housing types” under the GMA. This bill died in committee.

HB 1241 – Planning under the growth management act. This bill died in committee.

How to Testify

The good news for those interested in testifying on legislation is that both houses of the legislature now allow for Universal remote testimony – so people can testify on any bill from anywhere up to an hour prior to a committee meeting.