Washington Legislative Issues for 2023

Housing is expected to be a top priority of lawmakers in 2023. Washington REALTORS® have launched a new Welcome Home public relations campaign, and Governor Inslee has declared housing to be on his top priority list.


Here are the top housing issues for Washington REALTORS® in 2023

Allow Middle Housing in Cities HB 1110/SB 5190 “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.

Increasing the Supply & Affordability of Condominiums HB 1298/SB 5258 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 home buyers.

Allow Detached Accessory Dwelling Units in Rural Areas HB 1133/SB 5357 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. Also ADU HB 1276/SB 5235

Exempting Residential Sale/Leasebacks from Landlord-Tenant Act HB 1070/SB 5337 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.

Transit-Oriented Development SB 5312  Allows for duplexes and triplexes near mass transportation. 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.

Housing Construction

Streamline Regulations that Increase Housing Costs & Litigation HB 1293

Streamlining Project Review HB 1296/SB 5290

Design Review HB 1026

Lot Splitting HB 1245/ SB 5364 Increase Housing Options through lot splitting

Housing Benefit Districts HB 1111 The legislature intends to establish a housing benefit district pilot program which, using a land acquisition and deployment strategy, would produce more affordable low-income and moderate income housing.

American Dream Homes SB5027 Promoting housing affordability by incentivizing the construction of American dream homes

Energy Standards Work Group SB5057 Creating a work group to evaluate the costs of the state energy performance standard for covered commercial buildings

State Building Council Reform SB5117 Reforming the state building code council, its operations and procedures, and its statutory authority

Washington Future Funds Program HB1094 Creating the Washington future fund program

Landlord/Tenant Regulations

Rental Registration SB 5060 Requiring the registration of rental and vacant housing units.

Residential Rent and Fees HB 1124 Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months’ notice for rent increases over a certain amount, allowing tenants the right to terminate a tenancy without penalty, and limiting late fees.

Landlord Predatory Pricing Protections HB 1388 Protecting tenants by prohibiting predatory residential rent practices and by applying the consumer protection act to the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act. May exempt any building built in the last 10 years, or substantially remodeled in the past 10 years.

Rent Caps based on Inflation HB 1389 /SB 5435 Concerning residential rent increases under the residential landlord-tenant act and the manufactured/mobile home landlord-tenant act. Confusing program that tries to bank credits for landlords that charge less than market rate. No guidance on what this means.

Local City Rental Caps HB 1625 Enabling local governments to plan and adopt programs to stabilize and control rents.

Landlord Claims documentation HB1074 Addressing documentation and processes governing landlords’ claims for damage to residential premises

ADU Rental Incentives SB5045 Incentivizing rental of accessory dwelling units to low-income households

Landlord – Tenant District Court (TBD) A test project involving Spokane, that would establish a separate District Court to tackle landlord/tenant disputes


Homelessness Bonds Referendum HB 1149/ SB 5202 Reducing homelessness in Washington state through capital expenditures for programs that address housing insecurity. Governor’s plan ghat WR supports.

REALTOR Legislation

Improve Consumer Protections in Real Estate Agency Law HB 1284/SB 5191

Includes the following:

Buyer Agency Agreements
Require written buyer agency agreements, to be signed by the buyer as soon as reasonably practical after a broker commences rendering brokerage services for compensation or the expectation of compensation (the same timing used for listing agreements).

A. Buyer Agency Agreement must include broker appointment to represent the Buyer; exclusive and non-exclusive options; terms of compensation; and duration of agreement and termination provisions.
B. Buyer Agency Agreement not required to include geographic scope provisions or restatement of agency law or other statutory duties.
C. Buyer Agency Agreement would be structured to allow for additional terms and
provisions to be included in addition to the statutory requirements.

Dual Agency Relationships
Require clients to affirmatively and in writing opt-in to single agent, dual agency relationship, and include written disclosure of the limitations inherent in dual agency relationships. Include language in the agency law pamphlet to explain the dual agency relationship to consumers.

Agency Law Pamphlet
Modify the Agency Law pamphlet so that it reads in a narrative form that is easier for
consumers to understand, rather than restating statutory language. The pamphlet will
be much shorter and easier to understand.

Follow-up to the Falcon v. Bowfits decision by clarifying that the statutory duties in the
Agency Law apply between a broker and all parties in the transaction, not solely between a broker and broker’s client.

Lease Back Correction HB1070 Exempting the sale and leaseback of property by a seller from the residential landlord-tenant act when the seller agrees to a written lease at closing. Has passed the House.

Consumer “Right to List” (Pending) Based on company that buys a 40-year “Right to List” with owners.

Additional Bills

Family Burial Grounds HB1037 Would allow families to bury loved ones on their own property. Spokane Co Auditor Vicki Daulton is worried that there may not be a way to make this a searchable item when disclosing documents.

Bookmark this page for bills affecting REALTORS®