Council Votes to Amend Residential Rental Notice Period

Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 7:47 a.m.

During Monday night's Legislative Session, City Council voted 5-2 on Ordinance C36515, which amends the Spokane Municipal Code (SMC) regarding residential rental properties and establishes a minimum notice period for residential rent increases. 

“It’s evident that the cost of housing has skyrocketed in the past years, especially after the pandemic,” said Council President Betsy Wilkerson.  “We've noticed a significant increase in homelessness due to sudden rent hikes. We believe that ensuring housing stability is not a matter of being 'overly generous', but a necessity. Therefore, extending the notice period for rent increases is a fair measure for those who may need to relocate or make other financial preparations.”

The amended notice period now indicates that a landlord may not increase rental rates except in accordance with the following:

  1. Any rental agreement or renewal of a rental agreement entered after the effective date of this ordinance shall include, or shall be deemed to include, a provision requiring not less than:
  1. 120 days written notice for rent increases equal to or less than 3% or
  2. 180 days written notice for rent increases greater than 3% percent.
  3. In a subsidized tenancy where the amount of rent is based on the tenant's income or circumstances specific to the subsidized household, the rental agreement shall instead provide at least 30 days’ prior written notice of an increase in the amount of rent to each affected tenant.
  1. Any notice of residential rent increase shall specify the percentage of the rent increase, the amount of the new rent, and the date on which the increase becomes effective.
  2. Any notice of a residential rent increase shall be served in accordance with RCW 59.12.040.
  3. For purposes of this section, the term “rent” shall have the meaning set forth in RCW 59.18.030 (29), as amended from time to time.

“This is a big win for the hardworking people of Spokane,” said Council Member Paul Dillon, author, and sponsor of the ordinance. “Renters should be able to afford to live in the same community where they work and enjoy their lives. This ordinance is a crucial tool that will provide ample time to secure new housing, especially considering the rapid rent increases in Spokane. Preventing homelessness is our top priority, and we understand that both landlords and tenants share the common goal of maintaining stable housing.”

The ordinance also called for amendments to the Anti-Retaliation Protections and Private Right of Action to prevent landlord retaliation if landlords fail to comply with the newly amended law.

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