Victory! Move-in fee legislation upheld in King County Superior Court

Press Release:

Court upholds Seattle Move-in fee legislation, marking major win for tenant protections

Tenant advocates are celebrating a major win Friday after King County Superior Court ruled in favor of Seattle’s Move-in Fee legislation, which requires landlords to accept payment plans for move-in costs like security deposits.

“This win comes at a critical moment in Seattle’s history. We are in the midst of a regional housing crisis that is hitting poor tenants and people of color hardest,” Washington CAN Political Director Xochitl Maykovich said. “This win affirms what Washington CAN members have been arguing since the beginning of our campaign to pass Move-In Fee legislation: Common-sense regulations can win in city councils, and they can also hold up against the landlord lobby’s lawsuits, no matter how much money landlords invest in these anti-tenant efforts. I hope lawmakers throughout King County can be heartened by this decision, knowing that legislation to ease the financial burden renters face is legally and ethically sound policy.”


Background:  Seattle’s Move-In Fee legislation was passed unanimously by Seattle City Council in 2016. The policy capped the move-in costs landlords could charge tenants and requires landlords to accept payment plans for these fees. The Rental Housing Association of Washington filed a lawsuit against the city over the policy in 2017.

Washington tenants call out the landlord lobby

Tenants from across the state joined together July 18 to call out the unjust practices of Washington state's landlord lobby at their legal forum. 

The Rental Housing Association, RHA, has been lobbying against tenant protections and rights relentlessly, even though landlords already have broad powers across the state. So tenants stood up at RHA's forum and demonstrated the power we have -- together -- to push back against landlord lobbyists. 

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Dozens of advocates and tenants showed up to the protest, including Oscar, a mariachi singer who got us all dancing. 

But it was also an event that featured important stories from tenants and supporters across the state who are fighting against obscene rent hikes and laws that oppress tenants. 

According to police on the scene, RHA called the police preemptively, asking them to attend the event, since they knew we would attend the forum in protest. We laughed that off, since, of course, we're there to share our story and demonstrate our political power. Maybe that's scary to landlords.  

Regardless, Washington CAN was so proud to stand with tenants and advocates fighting for the same basic goals: tenant rights and protections. Hearing our stories and seeing each others' smiling faces filled us with pride. Together, we can win. 

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Activists demand Trump administration reunite families

Dozens of activists from across the Puget Sound, gathered together midday on a weekday to call out the Trump Administration for the horrifying treatment of immigrant and refugee families. 

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Washington CAN joined other immigrant-rights organizations; Casa Latina, the Washington BUS and Westside Baby; with around 70 demonstrators to stand in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Tukwila. Activists placed thousands of children's shoes on the sidewalk to represent the thousands of children who were torn from their parents at the border. We called the demonstration: Ponte en Mis Zapatos (Put Yourself in My Shoes), and it was part of a weeklong series of protests calling out the Trump administration for their despicable family separation policy.

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Several speakers told their stories of immigration and discrimination. We were particularly honored to support the children at the event who wanted to speak out to demand justice for their peers. 

Though the event was focused on a somber issue, we took space to celebrate childhood, because truly, that's what we are fighting for. The children separated at the border from their families deserve a nurturing childhood. We remembered this by watching some of the children perform a traditional dance. We will keep fighting until families are restored and this type of policy is replaced by humane practices that prioritize people and our communities. 

 

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Federal Way tenants fight against landlord's "move out" fees

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Tenants in a Federal Way complex were shocked when, at the end of their lease, they were sent bills for thousands of dollars for what the landlord said were for repairs and cleaning. 

One tenant, Maria, left at the end of her lease at the Kitts Corner Apartments. Mold was infesting her apartment and her property managers dismissed her concerns, treating her rudely. They never came to her apartment to make repairs. When she left, the property owners kept the security deposit, but they also charged her an additional $2,600 for "repairs."

Well, when we hear about this type of injustice, we stand by you and demand just treatment. About 15 of us marched into the property manager's office at the Kitts Corner Apartments and delivered a demand letter, asking to set up a meeting to go over tenants concerns. 

We will update you when we get a meeting scheduled.