Washington Legislature Hill Day – SAR 2019

The Keys to Unlocking the Door to Housing Campaign Begins

Hill Day Efforts Pay Off with Legislation Supporting Home Construction and Ownership

(Olympia) There was a renewed sense of mission this year when a team of Spokane Association of REALTORS® descended into Olympia to meet with our region’s state lawmakers. The message was clear; “We need more housing at all levels.” Now, a new media campaign has been launched called the Keys to Unlocking the Door that reminds lawmakers of the importance now of getting the job done.  (What Unlocks the Door to Housing flyer)

For several weeks before the session began, Washington REALTORS® hit the television and radio airwaves with it’s Unlock the Door campaign that made a strong case for housing from a number of key areas.

SAR Members sit with Spokane Sen. Andy Billig

The efforts, for now are being hailed as a key success. In all, 22 bills have either cleared their respective House of Origin (either the House or Senate) or are under consideration for final passage.

Among the key legislation being debated; Condo Liability Reform, Increased Density Options for Cities, Increasing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), Tiny Houses, and increasing the number of lots under the State’s Short Plat definition.

Washington REALTORS® are now working on a new companion campaign called “The Keys to Unlocking the Door,” that will help promote these bills and see them through into law.


Here are the Housing bills currently being considered

Increased Housing Supply & Density for Market-Rate and Affordable Housing

HB 1923 – Passed both the House and the Senate. Creates a menu of local options for density, including affordable housing considerations

HB 1797/SB 5812 – Provides for increase in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in cities – language added to  HB 1923 that may make these bills unnecessary

ESSB 5383 – Tiny Houses has passed both the House and the Senate

Incentives for Affordable & Low-Income Housing

SB 5363 – Extends multifamily tax exemption program for affordable multifamily housing (Not expected to pass)

SB 5366 – Expands the use of the multifamily tax exemption to additional cities in Washington (Not expected to pass)

HB 1168/SB 5025 – Provides sales and real estate excise tax exemptions for self-help housing (Not expected to pass)

HB 1107 – Expands low-income property tax exemption – passed the House and may see a vote in the Senate

SB 5746 – Dedicates a portion of the Housing Trust Fund to home ownership projects (Not expected to pass)

SB 5739 – Promotes affordable housing in unincorporated urban growth areas of rural counties – passed the Senate and may see a vote in the House

SB 5304/HB 1441 – Housing Finance Commission add an infrastructure program for local governments (Not expected to pass)

Regulatory & Liability Reforms

SB 5334 – Clarifies warranty for condominium to incentive more affordable condominium development. Passed both the House and the Senate.

HB 1576 – Creates process for condominium owners and developers to resolve construction disputes (Not expected to pass)

SB 5219 – Exempts small condominium projects from statutory warranty (Not expected to pass)

SB 5008 – Helps infill development by aligning short plat definition with Ecology’s SEPA regulations (Not expected to pass)

SB 5372 – Streamlines local government permit application completeness review process (Not expected to pass)

Funding for Local Governments

HB 1406 – Local sales tax authority for affordable housing – passed the House and is expected to see a vote in the Senate

HB 1219/SB 5195 – Flexible use of local real estate excise tax for homelessness and affordable housing (Not expected to pass)

HB 1798 – Lodging tax on short-terms generates local funding for workforce and affordable housing – has passed both the House and the Senate