In one of the City Council’s final acts before it dives into the 2020 budget, this morning the Council passed a set of five tenant-rights bills out of committee, setting them up for final approval next Monday.
Here are the five bills:
- A bill, several months in the works, that protects the survivors of domestic abuse from liability for damage to a unit by the perpetrator. After several prior hearings, this bill was almost ready to go, but got one final amendment to fine-tune its mitigation program for landlords. The changes this morning set some requirements for the landlords to be eligible for mitigation funds, and limit reimbursement to $1000 after a $500 deductible. Also, landlords must have submitted an insurance claim and had it rejected, must have registered their unit under the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance, must have completed an inspection checklist and move-in, and must have repaired the damage.
- A bill partially restricting a landlord’s ability to limit roommates and family members from occupying a tenant’s unit. This also received several amendments before being voted out of committee. Most of the amendments were technical and “cleanup,” but one substantive one narrowed the definition of “immediate family” to exclude people with past dating relationships or who had lived together in the past. The bill was also amended to require the landlord to be notified of who is occupying the unit.
- A bill requiring several of the required notices that landlords may send tenants (e.g. rent increases, eviction notices, or entering a unit) to contain information about where the tenant can find information about their rights.
- A bill requiring landlords to accept non-electronic forms of payment, and to provide receipts for payments.
- A bill requiring landlords to register under the city’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance before issuing a notice to terminate a tenancy. Under current laws, the landlord may register anytime before the judge issues an eviction notice; this bill pushes the requirement earlier.
All five bills were sponsored by Council member Lisa Herbold. Council member Kshama Sawant, who in recent years has promised a “Tenants’ Bill of Rights,” was a no-show today (and at past hearings on these bills), apparently focusing her efforts on passing a rent control bill that she unveiled last night.