Please Oppose Source of Income - HB 1633 & SB 5408
The bill would require a landlord to accept any source of income no matter the duration or
permanency of the source.
The bill defines Source of Income as follows: "Source of income" includes income derived from social security, supplemental security income, other retirement programs, and any federal, state, local, or nonprofit-administered benefit or subsidy programs, including housing
assistance, public assistance, and general assistance programs. This means that landlords would have to accept every local nonprofit subsidy, no matter the source permanency, or the duration of the voucher.
Income Formula Unfair
In fact, the bill says that, “any source of income in the form of a rent voucher or subsidy must be subtracted from the total of the monthly rent prior to calculating if the income criteria have been met.” So if someone had a local one-time subsidy for $1,000 and the rent is $1,200, even if they only make $600 per month (at a 3x rent amount) a landlord would be required to rent to them, even though their entire monthly income, without the subsidy, is only half of the monthly rental amount.
Putting Tenants in an Untenable Situation Increases Housing Costs
Requiring landlords to accept every local nonprofit subsidy, no matter the source permanency, or duration of the voucher causes the real problem, and that is putting a tenant in a rental unit that requires all or most of their monthly income to be devoted to rent, thereby putting the tenant in an impossible position, especially if the subsidy was only temporary. This leads to evictions and increased costs for housing, making it even harder for the industry to provide affordable housing and for tenants to obtain stable places to live.
New Cause of Action and Treble Damages
The bill also makes a violation of its terms a new cause of action and includes treble damages and attorney’s fees. “A person in violation of this section may be held liable in a civil action for up to treble the damages sustained by the tenant or applicant. The prevailing party may also recover court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.” Treble damages multiplier is inappropriate.
Source of income discrimination should not be treated different and harsher than any other type of discrimination
This Forces Landlords to Contract with the Government
This bill would force landlords to accept and enter into a contract with the government whether or not the landlord wants to do so. The landlord would be forced to accept the rules and regulations added by the government such as an initial one year lease whether or not the landlord wants that and not being able to terminate a subsequent month to month tenancy without cause.
As noted, the bill will cause landlords to enhance rents and other screening criteria to escape the new environment. This will also cause many landlords to sell rental property that will likely be taken for personal residence use. The end result will be a tightening of criteria for acceptable rental applicants and a reduction of available rental property inventory. This means rents will continue to increase, the resulting impact hitting the very tenants meant to be protected.
The legislature is attempting to erode the landlord's ability to protect and safeguard their
financial investments by forcing landlords to accept voucher tenants.
Before 1 Feb 2017 please help contact your lawmakers!
We recommend that our members contact their one Senator and their two house members to REJECT this legislation.
If you do not know who your three lawmakers are you can locate them at the following link: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/
See link below for contact information for each lawmaker: