Yesterday the Washington state House of Representatives passed House Bill 1694 by Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) to allow residential tenants to pay initial move-in fees, including deposits, nonrefundable fees, and last month’s rent in monthly installments.
Even when a person can find a home they can afford, exorbitant move-in fees can be a barrier that keeps that person in a state of homelessness or makes it difficult to move to a more affordable rental home.
“As a former renter, I know firsthand how hard it can be to come up with many thousands of dollars just to get a foot in the door of a rental home. These fees can easily reach $5,000,” said Morgan.
In all cases where premises are rented for a specified time that is three months or longer, the tenant may elect to pay in three consecutive and equal monthly installments, beginning at the inception of the tenancy.
In all other cases, the tenant may elect to pay in two consecutive and equal monthly installments, beginning at the inception of the tenancy.
A landlord is not required to permit a tenant to pay in installments if the total amount of the deposits and nonrefundable fees do not exceed 25 percent of the first full month’s rent and payment of the last month’s rent is not required at the inception of the tenancy.
Morgan continued, “This policy has been working well locally for tenants and landlords in Tacoma. It is now time to take the policy statewide, since we know the housing affordability and homelessness crises in our state truly are statewide.”
This is a priority bill for low-income tenant advocates, and it now moves to the state Senate for consideration.