Tenant Tip: Washington state tenants need your help TODAY!

Fair Tenant Screening Act

creditcheckFor nearly 10 years, the Fair Tenant Screening Act has been brought to our leaders in Olympia. We have achieved past successes to adopt legislation which makes the screening process more transparent. The Fair Tenant Screening Act addresses some of the most critical needs for housing accessibility in our state. While the cost of screening fees required during a housing search may seem negligible, without any change to legislation, these fees can make the difference between a family being able to move into safe and affordable housing, or having to remain living in substandard and potentially unhealthy housing.

This week, HB 1257 passed in the Washington state House of Representatives and is now moving to the Senate. If passed, it would make tenant screening reports more fair and affordable for all renters. We need YOUR help to make this happen!

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TAKE ACTION NOW!

Call the Legislative Hotline at 1.800.562.6000 and tell your Senators to make tenant screening reports fair and affordable. 

SAMPLE MESSAGE:

Protect renters from unfair screening practices by supporting reform through the Fair Tenant Screening Act. All Washington state residents deserve a fair chance at obtaining a safe and stable place to call home.”

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What would this bill change? 

This bill would make the costs of the housing search fair and affordable. It would allow tenants the option of paying one fee for an online report that is valid for 30 days. Within this time frame, any landlord to whom a prospective tenant is applying for housing can access the tenant’s comprehensive report, protecting the tenant from repeated fees for screening. This bill does not change or limit the information that landlords have access to in any way, and a landlord may still order additional reports at their own expense if desired.

Why this bill is important

Currently, tenants are required to pay screening fees that range from $30 to $75 per household member over 18, each and every time they apply for an apartment. Whether you face other hurdles to overcome during the housing search or not, the high cost of repeated screening fees can quickly accumulate and mean the difference between being able to secure housing and being homeless.

What you can do to help!

Housing Advocates have been working very hard this legislative session to make significant improvements for tenants in Washington state. This bill was passed out of the House of Representatives on March 5, 2015, but now must be voted out of the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. We need your help NOW! We cannot make these changes without you!

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TAKE ACTION NOW!

DON’T DELAY! Call the Legislative Hotline at 1.800.562.6000 and tell your Senators to make tenant screening reports fair and affordable. 

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The tenant information contained in this article or linked to the Solid Ground Tenant Services website is for informational purposes only. Solid Ground makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to its website. Solid Ground cannot act as your attorney. Solid Ground makes no representations, expressed or implied, that the information contained in or linked to its website can or will be used or interpreted in any particular way by any governmental agency or court. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided here should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Solid Ground Tenant Counselors offer these tenant tips as generalized information for renters. People with specific questions should call our Tenant Services hotline at 206.694.6767, Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays between 10:30am and 4:30pm.

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you for this message, I also have a question about some concerns as a renter. I live in Oklahoma a state that is refered to the homestead state and the law is suppose to protect both the landlord and tenant. But with it being a homestead state it seems like the landlords get more protection with the law and the renters like myself get’s the shafts end of the legal end. As a renter we don’t get any protection from these slumlords at all and have to either live in houses that are not in good condition or be homeless. The legislature are forcing the landlords to fix up the houses and helping us renters out causing use to be homeless, then they want to run the homeless off or put them in jail. The legislature’s are not coming up with no positive solution to the problem but making things worse. What can be done about this?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. Hi Dawn,

    I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges that you and your fellow tenants are facing in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Solid Ground’s Tenant Services program focuses solely on the Residential Landlord Tenant Act of Washington State, so our Tenant Counselors are not trained or well versed in the individual laws of other states.

    I did a quick search for you though, so I’ll include some links below that might be of help to you.

    Oklahoma landlord-tenant laws:
    https://www.ok.gov/OREC/documents/Landlord%20and%20Tenant%20Act%20Update.pdf

    Oklahoma Bar Association’s tenant rights page:

    http://www.okbar.org/public/Brochures/whatAreYourRightsAndDutiesAsATenant.aspx

    I hope this helps!

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