Prefiled bill looks to create statewide registry of rental properties

Senate Bill 5060 was prefiled by Senators Kuderer and Trudeau, and would require registration of rental and vacant housing units, as well as their prices. 

According to the prefiled bill, it states that there is a lack of “sufficient affordable housing inventory, specifically rental housing” and that this is “deeply felt statewide”. The new measures implemented by the bill, if passed, would track and maintain the level of rental housing within the state by requiring registration of such properties.

If approved, a new section would be added to state law that requires all rental housing units within the state to be registered with the Department of Commerce every two years when a tenant occupies it or it is made available for rent.

In addition, landlords must pay a registration fee of $70 to register a unit, plus a fee of $15 for each additional unit.

The Department of Commerce would be tasked with creating and maintaining a website that tracks, and discloses, the statewide rental and vacant housing unit inventory in real time as well as reported monthly rental rate data. 

In addition, the department would be required to provide landlords who manage or own four or fewer rental housing units with resources or information regarding rental assistance programming.

If a landlord fails to provide that data, the department could deny or revoke the registration.

In addition, if a landlord does not register the property, they would not be able to legally evict a tenant from the rental.

The money raised by registration fees would be used to assist with programs that provide legal representation in evection cases, assist local government with inspections of rentals, or for administrative purposes only.

Certain limitations are listed for short-term rentals when the owner of the home also lives there as their primary residence, such as a room-for-rent, healthcare facility, motel, or other general purpose other than a standalone housing rental.