Sawant and supporters when they announced this legislation in July. Photo by Casey Jaywork.

Council to Vote on Limits to Renter Move-In Fees

The bill will likely pass at Council’s 2 p.m. meeting today.

UPDATE: The council unanimously voted in favor of Sawant’s bill to cap move-in fees, with M. Lorena González absent.

ORIGINAL POST: This afternoon Seattle City Council will vote on a bill that would limit the cost of a new tenant’s security deposit and nonrefundable move-in fees to 10 percent of the first full month’s rent (with some small exceptions) and give renters the right to pay those fees in installments of up to six months, depending on the length of the lease. It also includes provisions for enforcement and penalties and defines the kinds of fees landlords can charge new tenants (so they can’t just make up new ones).

We first reported on the bill in July, when supporters including state House candidate Nicole Macri and city councilmembers Kshama Sawant, Mike O’Brien, and Lisa Herbold crammed into a sweaty WA CAN office and announced a plan to pass more renter protections in Seattle. One component of that plan is already law: in August, the council unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Herbold that bans landlord discrimination against prospective renters on the basis of unconventional income sources, like veteran’s benefits or housing vouchers.

The path to today’s vote on move-in fees has been a winding one. Sawant first introduced this bill in September. The council referred it to her Energy and Environment Committee. That committee amended and passed the bill to full council for a final vote in October, but at the request of councilmember Debora Juarez it was re-referred to committee for further changes. In November, Sawant’s committee made those changes and again voted in favor of the bill, sending it back to full council for a vote on December 12—that is, today.

The bill will likely pass. A majority of the council has already voted in favor of it twice in committee. Watch live here:

More in News & Comment

Charter review could overhaul King County Sheriff’s Office

Several changes to the King County Sheriff’s Office were proposed.

PNW plant-based foods could help in climate fight

Animal products create a lot of emissions, but veggie alternatives are coming from King County.

The language of the original bill prohibited privately-owned detainment facilities from being contracted by local, state, or federal government entities, but a last-second amendment was adopted to substantially narrow the focus of the legislation. File photo
Lawmakers flinch on banning for-profit detention facilities

Last minute amendment exempted ICE detainment facility.

Cooper Hawkins (9), Nash Hawkins (16) and Charlotte Hawkins (12) at the Hawkins’ home. Courtesy photo
Mercer Island family raises awareness for rare, undiagnosed diseases

Charlotte and Cooper Hawkins were born with an ultra-rare undiagnosed disease.

Replica of Vietnam Memorial making Enumclaw stop

A local vet has spent six years trying to secure this opportunity.

A proposal to make King County Metro fares free for low-income households could be approved in the coming months. File photo
King County considers free transit for low-income residents

The program would target those at or below 80 percent of the federal poverty level.

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Most Read