Thursday, September 28, 2023

Citizens’ Initiative 2023-01: How Your Vote Could Impact Tacoma's Rental Landscape

On August 30th, a significant decision was made regarding Tacoma's rental housing landscape. A judge ruled against including the already-passed Measure No. 2, which expanded renter protections, on the November ballot as an alternative to the proposed "Citizens’ Initiative 2023-01." The Tacoma City Council had voted to include Measure No. 2 on the ballot as an alternative to the initiative, despite it being an existing law that wouldn't be impacted by the results of the vote. 

Ballots will be mailed out on October 20th.

What is Citizens’ Initiative 2023-01?

The initiative aims to further refine the city's rental housing code, introducing more comprehensive rights for tenants than those provided by Measure No. 2. 

Here are some of the proposed changes under the initiative:

Resident Fees:

  • Move-in fees capped at one month, encompassing only a screening fee and a 25% pet fee.
  • Late fees restricted to a maximum of $10/month.
  • Rent increase notifications become more stringent, requiring two notices: one between 6-7 months and another between 3-4 months prior.

Relocation Assistance:

  • Rent increases below 7.5% will necessitate a payment to the tenant of 2x the monthly rent.
  • Increases between 7.5% and 10% will require 2.5x the monthly rent.
  • Any increase above 10% will require a relocation fee of 3x the monthly rent.
  • Notably, there will be no appeal process or means testing.

Eviction Limitations:

  • Evictions during the school year will be prohibited for students, educators, and school associates.
  • A winter eviction ban will be in place from November 1st to April 1st.
  • A new category of protected renters will be introduced, safeguarding groups like the military, first responders, seniors, healthcare providers, educators, and their residing family members from eviction.

What Does This Mean for Multifamily Investors and Owners?

The potential passage of Citizens’ Initiative 2023-01 could introduce a more regulated environment for multifamily property owners and investors. The restrictions on fees, the stringent requirements for rent increases, and the broadened eviction limitations could impact operational flexibility and profitability. It's crucial for stakeholders to be informed and prepared for these changes should the initiative pass.

What Can Multifamily Investors and Owners do to Make Their Voices Heard?

If you're concerned about the potential ripple effects of Citizens’ Initiative 2023-01, consider supporting the Washington Multifamily Housing Association's efforts to challenge the measure. Donations can be made via Ryan Makinster at

Stay tuned for more updates and in-depth analyses on this topic. If you're a multifamily investor or owner, understanding the nuances of such measures can be pivotal for your investment strategy.

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