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SUMMARY of the

Tenant Bill of Rights
Initiative 2023-01
Image by Breno Assis


All the policies in Initiative 2023-01 are modeled on existing laws already passed in cities across Washington. While landlord lobbyists are pushing City Council to pass a watered down alternative to the Tenant Bill of Rights, Tacoma tenants deserve the same protections already enjoyed by hundreds of thousands statewide.

Groups like the Rental Housing Association and LandlordSolutions are whipping up fear that tenant protections will put their clients out of business, but in Seattle and other cities where these policies have been tested landlords continue to rake in profits.


The real threat to small landlords and tenants alike is the rapid growth of outside investors buying up Tacoma’s rental housing. A whopping 70% of apartments sold last year were bought by private investors and real estate trusts. The outside firm that bought Tacoma’s Unionaire Apartments hiked rent by 60% for hundreds of low-income tenants. 

The Tenant Bill of Rights is needed to help curb the abuses of billionaire investors, to discourage excessive rent hikes, and to encourage all landlords, big and small, to treat tenants with dignity and respect.

Climate Protest

Fair Move-in Fees and Late Fees

  • ​Landlords may not charge move-in fees that, together, total more than one month’s rent (Including refundable security deposits, first/last month’s rent, application fees and any fees charged for credit checks)

  • Landlords may not collect pet deposits greater than 25% of one month’s rent

  • Late fees are capped at $10 a month; late fee accrual following the end of the lease is prohibited

Fair Notice of Rent Hikes and

Tenant Relocation Assistance

  • Landlords must provide notice of rent increases six months (180 days) and three months (90 days) before the increase

  • When big landlords raise rents over 5% they must offer relocation assistance to tenants who cannot afford the increase and decide to move out (most small landlords are exempt). Tenants are entitled to the following amounts: 

    • ​ 2 months of rent for rent increases over 5%

    •  2.5 months for rent increases over 7.5%

    •  3 months for rent increases over 10%

  • Rent increases in dwellings with habitability violations are prohibited

Fair Protection From

Economic Evictions

  • Students, their families, and educators will be protected from economic evictions during the school year

  • Economic evictions during cold-weather months, the deadliest time to be forced into homelessness, would be protected against

  • Alongside existing anti-discrimination protections, tenants cannot be evicted because of their status as a member of the military, first responder, senior, healthcare worker, family member, or educator

  • Landlords can still carry out evictions at any time if tenants are posing a threat to others or their property, or using their apartments for illegal purposes

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