CERTIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT
SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1336
1991 Regular Session
Passed by the House March 14, 1991
Yeas 95 Nays 0
Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate April 18, 1991
Yeas 43 Nays 6
President of the Senate
Governor of the State of Washington
I, Alan Thompson, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1336 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Secretary of State
State of Washington
SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1336
AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
Passed Legislature - 1991 Regular Session
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By House Committee on Housing (originally sponsored by Representatives Leonard, Ogden, Anderson, Ballard, Nelson, Winsley, Wineberry, Franklin, Mitchell, Paris and Brekke).
Read first time March 6, 1991.
AN ACT Relating to prospective residential tenants; adding new sections to chapter 59.18 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that tenant application fees often have the effect of excluding low-income people from applying for housing because many low-income people cannot afford these fees in addition to the rent and other deposits which may be required. The legislature further finds that application fees are frequently not returned to unsuccessful applicants for housing, which creates a hardship on low-income people. The legislature therefore finds and declares that it is the policy of the state that certain tenant application fees should be prohibited and guidelines should be established for the imposition of other tenant application fees.
The legislature also finds that it is important to both landlords and tenants that consumer information concerning prospective tenants is accurate. Many tenants are unaware of their rights under federal fair credit reporting laws to dispute information that may be inaccurate. The legislature therefore finds and declares that it is the policy of the state for prospective tenants to be informed of their rights to dispute information they feel is inaccurate in order to help prevent denials of housing based upon incorrect information.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 59.18 RCW to read as follows:
(1) It shall be unlawful for a landlord to require a fee from a prospective tenant for the privilege of being placed on a waiting list to be considered as a tenant for a dwelling unit.
(2) A landlord who charges a prospective tenant a fee or deposit to secure that the prospective tenant will move into a dwelling unit, after the dwelling unit has been offered to the prospective tenant, must provide the prospective tenant with a receipt for the fee or deposit, together with a written statement of the conditions, if any, under which the fee or deposit is refundable. If the prospective tenant does occupy the dwelling unit, then the landlord must credit the amount of the fee or deposit to the tenant's first month's rent or to the tenant's security deposit. If the prospective tenant does not occupy the dwelling unit, then the landlord may keep up to the full amount of any fee or deposit that was paid by the prospective tenant to secure the tenancy, so long as it is in accordance with the written statement of conditions furnished to the prospective tenant at the time the fee or deposit was charged. A fee charged to secure a tenancy under this subsection does not include any cost charged by a landlord to use a tenant screening service or obtain background information on a prospective tenant.
(3) In any action brought for a violation of this section a landlord may be liable for the amount of the fee or deposit charged. In addition, any landlord who violates this section may be liable to the prospective tenant for an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars. The prevailing party may also recover court costs and a reasonable attorneys' fee.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 59.18 RCW to read as follows:
(1) If a landlord uses a tenant screening service, then the landlord may only charge for the costs incurred for using the tenant screening service under this section. If a landlord conducts his or her own screening of tenants, then the landlord may charge his or her actual costs in obtaining the background information, but the amount may not exceed the customary costs charged by a screening service in the general area. The landlord's actual costs include costs incurred for long distance phone calls and for time spent calling landlords, employers, and financial institutions.
(2) A landlord may not charge a prospective tenant for the cost of obtaining background information under this section unless the landlord first notifies the prospective tenant in writing of what a tenant screening entails, the prospective tenant's rights to dispute the accuracy of information provided by the tenant screening service or provided by the entities listed on the tenant application who will be contacted for information concerning the tenant, and the name and address of the tenant screening service used by the landlord.
(3) Nothing in this section requires a landlord to disclose information to a prospective tenant that was obtained from a tenant screening service or from entities listed on the tenant application which is not required under the federal fair credit reporting act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681 et seq.
(4) Any landlord who violates this section may be liable to the prospective tenant for an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars. The prevailing party may also recover court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.