‘WA needs 1 million new homes within next 20 years’: Suite of bills target the housing crisis

The Washington state legislature passed a suite of bills targeting the housing crisis, bringing them one step closer to becoming law.

“Washingtonians won this session,” said Dan Bertolet, Director of the Housing and Urbanism program for Sightline Institute. “Whether it was cutting red tape and construction costs or ensuring our cities allow more affordable options near transit and jobs, these bills, working together, mean more homes, at more affordable prices, in communities all across our state.”

A deficit of homes is driving up prices and rents, according to a news release from the Housing and Urbanism program for Sightline Institute on Friday.

“The Department of Commerce estimates that Washington needs one million new homes within the next 20 years to make up for decades of underbuilding, these measures—large and small—will go a long way to address the state’s acute shortage of homes and affordability crisis,” said the release.

Here is a list of the bills, per the news release:

  • HB 1110 increases middle housing.
  • HB 1337 makes it easier for homeowners to add accessory dwelling units.
  • HB 1042 loosens restrictions on adding housing within existing multifamily buildings.
  • SB 5491 legalizes residential buildings up to a certain height to have a single exit.
  • SB 5258 reforms regulations for small-scale condos.
  • SB 5058 helps small-scale condo development.
  • HB 1181 improves the state’s response to climate change.
  • HB 1293 streamlines local design review processes.
  • HB 5412 reduces governments’ land use permits.
  • SB 5290 supports local governments in streamlining their permit processes for new housing.
  • HB 1074 establishes rules to ensure landlords fairly and promptly return tenants’ damage deposits after they move out.
  • SB 5197 modifies eviction notice and eviction legal process requirements to give tenants more options and leeway.
  • HB 1474 supports first-time homebuyers harmed by historical discriminatory covenants.
  • HB 1771 strengthens the rules governing relocation assistance provided by the Mobile Home Relocation Assistance Program.
  • SB 5198 strengthens rules to give mobile homeowners the opportunity to purchase mobile home communities when owners propose closure or conversion.
  • HB 1695 clarifies the definitions of affordable housing that qualify as a “public benefit.”
  • SB 5301 makes a number of updates to how the Department of Commerce manages various affordable housing subsidy programs.
  • SB 5045 creates a property tax exemption for ADUs to owners who offer them at rent affordable to people making 60% of the area’s median income.
  • HB 1326 reduces utility costs for affordable housing.