OLYMPIA — In its marathon session Thursday, the state House passed two bills that attempt to make life a little less expensive for low-income renters.
The House approved House Bill 1223 to allow King County to use hotel and motel taxes earlier than previously allowed under law to raise bond revenues. That bonding money would double the amount the county can invest in affordable housing right now, according to a press statement by Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, the bill’s sponsor.
And it comes with a traffic-easing bonus: nearly half the money would be used to build projects within a half-mile of transit stations.
The bill passed with support from both Republicans and Democrats.
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“People in the 30th District and South King County desperately need assistance in establishing stable housing options, and this bill is a great local tool to accomplish that,” said Rep. Linda Kochmar, R- Federal Way and co-sponsor of the bill.
The House also Thursday passed House Bill 1257, known as the Fair Tenant Screening Act. Sponsored by Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, D-Seattle, it would allow renters applying for housing to use a tenant-screening report for multiple applications within a 30-day period.
Right now, prospective renters can be charged separately by different landlords for a screening report that is usually the same, driving up the cost of finding a place to live.
“These kinds of repeated housing fees are another example of the growing economic inequality,” said Walkinshaw. “Tenant report fees can cost families hundreds of dollars each year.”
That bill passed on a party-line vote.