Spokane Council Tackles More Rental Regulations

A 6-month notification for any rent increase and a measure to prevent squatters are headed to the Spokane City Council for votes in the weeks ahead.

The first measure, to be presented to the Urban Experience Committee, requires landlords to give a 180-day notice on rent increases, instead of the current 60-days.

“A landlord is required to provide at least 180 days prior written notice whenever the periodic or monthly rent to be charged a residential tenant will increase by any amount charged the same tenant for the same housing unit.”

The measure also adds stricter language for landlord retaliation, and a potential fine of $500. The measure is set to be heard by the council April 22nd, with a final vote at the April 29th meeting.

The second measure deals with a loophole in Washington state law that has allowed a number of squatters to make headlines by taking advantage of delays in the court system for evictions.

Council member Jonathan Bingle has introduced a measure called the “Unlawful use of Vacant Residential Properties, AKA Squatting” that compromises the safety, security, and sanctity of neighborhoods.

That measure would “strengthen local laws to protect property owners and lawful residents from the adverse effects of squatting, and to ensure a speedy process for restoration of such property to the rightful owners or occupiers,” similar to those enacted by the State of designed to deter squatting, facilitate the timely removal of squatters, and uphold the rights of property owners.

No official timetable has yet been released, but the measure is expected to be before the council in the weeks ahead.