2023 WA Legislative Tracker

The 2023 Washington State legislative session began on January 9 (see our full 2023 Legislative Advocacy Agenda), and we’re closely tracking the bills and budget items that can make a real impact for affordable housing. Scroll down to view the entire list, or use the buttons below to filter by topic or status. More bill numbers, links to bills, and ways to take action are expected throughout the first and second week of the session.

Ready to take action? Use the “urgent action needed” filter below for a list of bills you can support today, or try the “testify for homes” filter for opportunities to provide vital testimony at hearings!

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Housing Benefits Districts (HB 1111)

Acquire land near transit for affordable housing.

Enable cities to establish housing benefit districts (HBD) for acquisition and disposition of land for affordable homes within 0.5 miles of light rail and bus rapid transit. The bill would create a competitive grant program for cities to apply to. Elligible uses of the funds are land acquisition, infrastructure development, and equitable station area planning. At least 34% of the acquired land must be transferred at a discounted rate for affordable housing, some sold for workforce housing, and no more than 33% sold for market housing at full market price (with all proceeds used to purchase more land for affordable housing).

Read the full bill.

Jan 19: Hearing with House Housing Committee.

Jan 9: First reading; referred to House Housing Committee.

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Middle Housing (HB 1110/SB 5190)

Create more affordable housing options by allowing gentle density through modest middle housing types in cities near job centers, transit, and amenity-rich neighborhoods.

Require cities of more than 6,000 people, and cities within a contiguous urban growth area containing a city of more than 200,000 people, to allow duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes throughout all residential zones. Require those cities to allow sixplexes throughout all residential zones within a half-mile radius of major transit, or when at least two of the six homes are set-aside as affordable to people making less than 80% of Area Median Income.

Read the full bill.

Jan 25: Hearing with Senate Housing Committee

Jan 17: Hearing with House Housing Committee.

Jan 9: First reading; referred to House Housing Committee.

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Covenant Homeownership Account (HB 1474/SB 5496)

Support homeownership for those harmed by generations of systematic, racist, and discriminatory polices and practices by Washington State.

A $100 Covenant Homeownership Assessment will be enacted to begin to repair the harm of decades of systematic, racist, and discriminatory polices that created barriers to credit and homeownership for BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities. The account will be dedicated to supporting homeownership for those who were harmed.

Read the full bill.

Read Bill Summary with FAQs.

Jan 20: Introduced in the House Housing Committee and Senate Housing Committee.

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Affordable Homes Act (HB 1628)

Increase funding for affordable housing by expanding the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).

Expanded Real Estate Excise Tax (REET), with the revenues dedicated for affordable housing. This bill has two parts:

1) Create a new tier at the state level. A 4% excise tax on the portion of property sales price above $5 million. The revenues will be dedicated to the Housing Trust Fund, Apple Health and Homes account, a developmental disabilities trust account, and operations, maintenance and services for permanent supportive housing.

2) Create a new local option REET. Allows cities and counties to impose a 0.25% excise tax on property sales. The reveneus will be dedicated to building, acquiring, maintaining, and providing services for affordable housing, both rental and homeownership.

Jan 25: Introduced in the House Local Government Committee.

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Lot Splitting (HB 1245)

Help homeowners stay in their homes and communities while creating lower-cost home options for others.

Require cities to allow one lot split within residential zoned land, provided that each resulting lot is at least 2,000 square feet and at least 40% of the size of the original lot. It prohibits lot splits that would require demolition or alteration of housing that has been rented by a tenant within the last year.

Read the full bill.

Feb 2: Scheduled for executive session.

Jan 26: Public hearing held in the House Housing Committee.

Jan 12: First reading; referred to Housing.

Bill Brief highlighting impacts on Black homeownership (Sightline)

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Transit Oriented Development (SB 5466)

Require cities to allow for more residential density near transit.

Take action today! Let the Senate Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs Committee know you’re “pro” SB 5466. It takes less than a minute! Click the button below, select “pro” from the “Position” dropdown menu, and fill in your information to voice your support. It’s quick, easy, and it really makes a difference! 

Deadline: 1/31 at 7:00 AM.

The bill defines “station areas” as being within a 0.75 mile radius of bus rapid transit, light rail, commuter rail, and frequent bus service. Within station areas, cities are:

  • Prohibited from imposing a maximum density in terms of homes per acre.
  • Prohibited from imposing parking requirements, except those dedicated exclusively for individuals with disabilities.
  • Required to allow a minimum average Floor Area Ratio of 4.

Read the full bill.

Jan 31: Scheduled public hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs at 8:00 AM.

Jan 19: Introduced in the Senate and referred to Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs Committee.

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Condominium Reform Act (SB 5258)

Incentivize new homeownership opportunities by reforming condominium regulations.

Improve the “right to cure” process for construction defects.

Encourage the development of smaller condo projects (12 homes or less), by exempting them from the statutory condo warranties and subjecting them to the residential building code and residential energy code, not the commercial codes.

Exempt low-income first-time homebuyers from the State Real Estate Excise Tax (REET).

Modify the impact fee statute so it is in proportion to the number of bedrooms/square footage of the dwelling.

Read the full bill.

Jan 26: Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice at 8:00 AM.

Jan 23: Hearing held with Senate Law & Justice Committee.

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Subregional Affordable Housing District

Create a framework for subregional investments in affordable housing.

To unlock opportunity for Washingtonians it is necessary to lift 2 bans on the development of modest home choices in cities near job centers, transit, and amenity-rich neighborhoods. Enables cities to enter into interlocal agreements to pool funding from voter-approved, citywide property tax levies for affordable housing.

Please check back for updates.

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Utility Connection Fee Waiver (HB 1326)

Allow jurisdictions to waive utility connection fees for affordable housing.

Municipal utilities formed under this chapter may waive connection charges for properties used by a nonprofit organization, a public development authority, a housing authority, a local agency, or any other legal entity that provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, or affordable housing.

Read the full bill.

Jan 27: Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Local Government at 10:30 AM.

Jan 24: Public hearing in the House Committee on Local Government.

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Rent Increase Notice (HB 1124)

Require six months’ notice for rent increases above 5%.

Require landlords to provide at least 180 days’ notice for rent increases over 5 percent. Allow a tenant to terminate a tenancy without penalty for any rent increase over 5 percent. Limits late rental payment fees to $75.

Read the full bill.

Jan 26: Scheduled for executive session in the House Housing Committee at 8:00 AM.

Jan 12: Public hearing in the House Housing Committee.

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Housing Justice Act

Ban “the box” on rental applications.

Ban landlords from implementing policies that automatically exclude a person with an arrest or conviction record from rental housing.

Please check back for updates.

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Rent Stabilization (HB 1388 & HB 1389)

Enact statewide limits on rent increases.

Limit rent increases for most tenants to the greater of 3% or the inflation rate, up to a maximum of 7%. Exempt homes built within the past 10 years and those for which the landlord is required to set tenant-paid rent at no more than 30% of the tenant’s income. Prohibits differential treatment based on whether tenancy is month-to-month or longer term. Restricts rent for new tenants if the prior tenant was evicted, but otherwise does not restrict rents after vacancy.

Read the full bill for HB 1389

Read the full bill for HB 1388

Jan. 24: Public hearing in the House Housing Committee (both bills)

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Wealth Tax (HB 1473/SB 5486)

Create a 1% wealth tax.

Impose an annual 1% wealth tax on financial assets owned above $250 million, such as stocks and bonds. This tax would affect the richest 700 Washington households and raise an estimated $3 billion per year. Funds would be dedicated for education, affordable housing, disability care, and tax credits for low- and middle-income families.

Read the full bill

Jan. 20: Referred to House Finance Committee and Senate Committee on Ways & Means

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Invest $400 million in the Housing Trust Fund

Create a historic investment in affordable housing by allocating $400 million to the Housing Trust Fund.

Take action! Sign up with our partners at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to testify in support of the Housing Trust Fund at upcoming hearings.

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) assists low and very low-income residents in meeting their basic housing needs. The HTF is funded through the Capital Budget and its funds are used to build and preserve affordable housing throughout Washington state. The HTF is the state’s best tool for ensuring access to safe, healthy, and affordable housing.

Please check back for updates.

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Support the Governor’s $4 billion bond proposal (HB 1149/SB 5202)

Raises $4 billion over 6 years for affordable housing by issuing bonds outside Washington State’s debt limit.

The referendum bonds would not raise taxes, but instead bond against state revenue. It requires voter approval, in addition to legislative approval. Revenues would be paired with regular capital budget funding, and finance a broad range of affordable housing priorities, including the Housing Trust Fund, permanent supportive housing, affordable homeownership, land acquisition, and a transit-oriented housing development partnership program.

Read more: HB 1149 / SB 5202

Jan 18: Hearing with Senate Housing Committee held for SB 5202.

Jan 12: Hearing with House Capital Budget Committee for HB 1149.