Tenant protection bills advance in Washington Legislature

OLMYPIA, Wash. (AP) — New tenant protections — including proposals to give judges more discretion to block evictions and longer notice of rent increases — are advancing in the state Legislature.

Along with increased discretion for judges, the broadest of the proposals would add more than a week to pay-or-vacate notices, extending them from three days to 14, restrict eviction for nonpayment of fees, require landlords to apply payments to rent before fees and create standardized multilingual notices.

The measures come as an ongoing surge in homelessness has pushed lawmakers and city officials in the region to look beyond immediate fixes like shelters.

But some of the ideas have pitted tenants’ advocates and landlords against each other, especially over increasing judges’ discretion and the extended pay-or-vacate periods.