Legislation that would outlaw the unacceptable practice of evicting tenants without giving a reason finally got its moment on the floor of the Washington State House of Representatives earlier today, passing fifty-four to forty-four.
Sponsored by State Representative Nicole Macri (D‑43rd District: Seattle), ESHB 1236 keeps intact the rights landlords already possess to end a tenancy or evict a tenant. But going forward, they will have to provide a reason for evicting a tenant, and give the tenant enough time to move out and find new housing.
“The bill before us is simple — it requires landlords to provide a reason to tenants when they ask them to move out of their home. I want to be clear — stopping evictions means preventing homelessness,” Macri told her colleagues.
Today’s vote is a big win for Washingtonians, especially renters.
As Macri observed, adding these protections to state law is a matter of justice and equity. “Communities of color disproportionately rely on rental housing to keep a roof over their head,” Macri pointed out prior to the bill’s adoption.
In May of 2020, NPI’s pollster asked 1,070 likely Washington State voters what they thought of Macri’s bill, which was also proposed last session, but which did not advance to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk. 60% of those surveyed (three-fifths) said they agreed with the idea, while 34% disagreed. 6% were not sure.
Here’s the question we asked, and the responses we received:
QUESTION: Under current state law, landlords may evict tenants without providing a reason. Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that the Washington State Legislature should improve landlord-tenant relationships by requiring landlords to give a reason when attempting to move someone out of a home?
- Agree: 60%
- Strongly: 36%
- Somewhat: 24%
- Disagree: 34%
- Somewhat: 14%
- Strongly: 20%
- Not sure: 6%
Our survey of 1,070 likely 2020 Washington State voters was in the field from Tuesday, May 19th through Wednesday, May 20th, 2020.
It utilizes a blended methodology, with automated phone calls to landlines and text message answers from cell phone only respondents.
The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% confidence level.
“No-cause evictions that require tenants to leave the property in twenty days deny justice for renters as there is enormous potential for discrimination when a landlord can evict without having to cite any reason,” House Democratic staff wrote in a news release announcing the passage of the bill.
“The House Housing, Human Services and Veterans Committee heard testimony from renters who received no-cause eviction notices after asserting their legal rights or asking for basic things like repairs. Additionally, Black renters are evicted at significantly higher rates than white renters in Washington.”
The roll call on ESHB 1236 was as follows:
3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 54; Nays: 44
Voting Yea: Representatives Bateman, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chopp, Cody, Davis, Dolan, Duerr, Entenman, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Goodman, Gregerson, Hackney, Hansen, Harris-Talley, Johnson, J., Kirby, Kloba, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Lovick, Macri, Morgan, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Peterson, Pollet, Ramel, Ramos, Riccelli, Ryu, Santos, Sells, Senn, Shewmake, Simmons, Slatter, Springer, Stonier, Sullivan, Taylor, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Walen, Wicks, Wylie, Speaker Jinkins
Voting Nay: Representatives Abbarno, Barkis, Boehnke, Caldier, Chambers, Chandler, Chapman, Chase, Corry, Dent, Dufault, Dye, Eslick, Gilday, Goehner, Graham, Griffey, Harris, Hoff, Jacobsen, Klicker, Klippert, Kraft, Kretz, MacEwen, Maycumber, McCaslin, McEntire, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Paul, Robertson, Rude, Rule, Schmick, Steele, Stokesbary, Sutherland, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Ybarra, Young
Three Democrats broke away to join the Republicans in voting no: Representative Mike Chapman (D‑24th District: Olympic Peninsula), Representative Dave Paul (D‑10th District: Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Stanwood), and Representative Alicia Rule (D‑42nd District: Whatcom County). Democrats could afford to lose a total of seven votes and still pass the bill, so it passed with four votes to spare.
Adoption of ESHB 1236 is an NPI legislative priority for 2021. We thank State Representative Nicole Macri for all of her fine work on this legislation, which will protect tenants in communities all over our state. The next step is to secure Senate approval so the legislation can reach Governor Jay Inslee’s desk.