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At its July 11 meeting, Tacoma City Council is expected to vote on a final package of changes to the City’s rental housing code.

These changes could have significant implications for both residents and housing providers in the City of Tacoma. TPCAR is asking its members to contact Tacoma City Council and encourage them to continue working with all housing providers in the City to ensure that a fair compromise is reached which balances the needs of the City’s most vulnerable residents, while also ensuring the housing providers can continue to operate in the City without incurring unsustainable levels of risk.

The proposed ordinance does not adequately balance the interests of both tenant and landlord, and that overly-burdensome regulations will discourage small rental operators from continuing to offer rental housing in the City of Tacoma.

The ordinance being considered at tomorrow’s meeting would enact changes as listed below. In addition to these changes, there are also amendments being offered which seek to require the landlord to pay relocation assistance to tenants who move after receiving a notice of rent increase, ban evictions from November thru April, ban landlords from having pet breed restrictions, and lower the income-to-rent qualifying ratio to only 2 times the monthly rent.

Notice of Rent Increase

  • Require a written notice of at least 120 days for any rent increase before it can go into effect.

Standardized Screening Criteria

  • Set a maximum income to rent requirement as 2.5x or 3x monthly rent to gross income based on
    HUD fair rental rates.
  • Prohibits landlord from having a blanket ban on a tenant with felony or drug convictions, and arrest records.
  • Requires landlords to do individual assessments of proposed tenants’ criminal history to determine eligibility based on the severity and how long ago the offense occurred.
    • Applicants could be denied for sex offenses, manufacturing / sale of drugs, arson, and specific instances of assault
  • Prohibit the landlord from requiring a SSN as the only way a tenant can apply for housing.

Fee and Deposit Standards

  • Limit the amount of late fees to 1.5% of monthly rent, with a maximum limit of $75/month.
  • Prohibit late fees assessed on non-rent charges such as installment payments, deposits, or amenities like parking space fees.
  • Prohibit any pet damage deposit exceeding 25% of one month’s rent, and require this deposit be refundable if unused.
  • Require the landlord to actively take steps to recover late fees during tenancy by serving at a minimum quarterly notices or invoices.
  • Prohibit landlords who do not address late fees during tenancy from withholding them from deposit or reporting them to prospective landlords at end of tenancy.
  • Increase the current deposit installment payments from 3 months to 6 months under existing code for move-in fees.

Shared Housing Standards
“Shared Housing” is when a tenant sublets a private room or shared room in a dwelling unit, but shares common areas such as a kitchen, gathering spaces, and/or bathroom with other tenants. In addition to other shared housing details, the proposal would require:

  • The master lease holder (the primary tenant) provide sublet tenants with the contact information for the property owner at time of tenancy.
  • Separate leases by the property owner and leaseholder when renting to four or more tenants.
  • The property owner to serve any notices that can lead to eviction to the master lease holder and provide an appropriate number of additional notices to the master lease holder to then provide to each of the sublet tenants.

For more information, please contact our Advocacy Team at

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