(The Center Square) – A ballot measure that would provide Tacoma renters more rights is too close to call after the second night of general election vote counting.
Initiative 1, also called the Tenant Bill of Rights, is currently seeing 51% of voters reject the measure.
If passed, the measure would require more notice for rent increases, as well as require Tacoma landlords to offer relocation assistance if the rent increases more than 5%.
Landlords would be required to provide two notices before increasing rent. The first being between 210 and 180 days prior and the second between 120 and 90 days prior.
According to the voter’s pamphlet, Tacoma For All’s ballot measure prohibits evictions between Nov. 1 and April 1, in order to prevent tenants from becoming homeless during colder months and prohibits the eviction of members of the military, first responders, seniors, family members, health care providers or educators.
Despite currently being down, the measure’s sponsor, Tacoma For All, is optimistic that it will soon overcome the deficit and pass.
“Initiative 1 is closing the gap – today’s ballot count has moved us even closer to a win,” the citizens’ group stated in a social media post. “Progressive and working-class people tend to vote later, so we expect a lead in the days ahead.”
The ballot measure at one point faced competition with another tenant protection measure that the Tacoma City Council aimed to have on the November ballot. However, a Pierce County Superior Court judge ordered the county to remove the measure, as previously reported by The Center Square.
The measure is much more liberal on evictions than the state’s general law. Washington laws generally dictate that property owners have to give two weeks notice for tenants to be evicted from the property.
In comparison, renters in Oregon must get at least 10-day notice before a landlord can evict them for not paying their rent. If the renter pays the full late rent during the 10-day notice period, the landlord cannot file an eviction for unpaid rent.
The Rental Housing Association of Washington has been critical of the proposed ballot measure, saying that it would severely degrade the rental housing market in Tacoma and would “likely lead to hundreds of currently affordable rental housing units being moved off the market in 2024.”