Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Manager
The 2016 state legislative regular session wrapped up last week. Thanks to your advocacy, we had some important victories!
Fair Tenant Screening and Eviction Reporting
Advocates have been working for years to make the tenant screening process more transparent and fair. This year, a bill passed that will require landlords to disclose whether they will accept a reusable tenant screening report. This means that soon, people who are looking for housing can pay just once for a report and share it with multiple landlords who accept the reusable report. The new system will potentially save tenants hundreds of dollars.
The same law will also help ensure that screening reports do not unfairly reflect eviction proceedings. It will prohibit a tenant screening company from reporting an eviction that did not actually become an eviction. For example, in cases where a tenant prevailed in court or if an eviction was filed without cause, it will not be reported. Currently, even evictions in which a tenant “won” is listed as an eviction. This law will help ensure a more fair and just way of reporting.
You sent lawmakers hundreds of messages that really made a difference this winter. Not every item on our legislative agenda passed, but you contributed to educating elected officials about policies that will help our communities.
Lawmakers are still in Olympia, and we still need your advocacy
When the regular session ended on March 10, Gov. Inslee quickly called a 30-day special session for legislators to work out a final budget. Passing a budget that invests in affordable housing and programs is crucial; please continue to follow the action and advocate with our partners at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
Coming up on Firesteel
I’ll be sending my advocacy emails from Kenya, where I’m documenting community-based conservation efforts as a volunteer with ChangeStream Media. While this international work isn’t directly connected with my role at Firesteel, it does inform and inspire my advocacy. I look forward to coming back to Seattle in May with fresh ideas and interesting stories!
Till then, I’ve scheduled some great posts for you to enjoy during my eight-week absence. Please come back to watch three new videos in which community members talk about their experiences with housing instability, and share how it motivates their advocacy. If you aren’t already subscribed to the Firesteel blog, scroll down now and enter your email address. That way you won’t miss a single post.