State Representative Nicole Macri with housing justice champions
State Representative Nicole Macri with housing justice champions

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:

Roll Call
HB 1236
Res­i­den­tial tenants
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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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