Fourteen affordable housing bills, sponsored by a mix of Democrats and Republicans, have gotten, or are scheduled for, committee hearings in Olympia. Two of these bills, HB 2585 and SB 6211, have passed out of their original committees. Any bills that don’t get out of a policy committee by next Friday, February 5, are dead, barring any special procedures. Bills in the fiscal and transportation committees get until Tuesday, February 9.
House Bill 2395, by Rep. Joan McBride (D – Kirkland), would authorize cities to impose a fee on condominium conversions. The money collected from the fee would be deposited in a fund established by the city for affordable housing development.
The condominium conversion fee would be determined by multiplying the square footage floor area for all units in a residence by the following rates:
For a 2 unit residence: up to $0.95 per square foot floor area;
For a 3 unit residence: up to $1.42 per square foot floor area;
For a 4 unit residence: up to $1.90 per square foot floor area;
For a 5 unit residence: up to $2.38 per square foot floor area;
For a 6 unit residence: up to $2.85 per square foot floor area;
For a 7 unit residence: up to $3.33 per square foot floor area;
For a 8 unit residence: up to $3.80 per square foot floor area;
For a 9 unit residence: up to $4.28 per square foot floor area;
For residences with 10 or more units: up to $4.75 per square foot floor area;
The fee would also apply to any condominium conversion on property owned by a city that is imposing the fee, unless it has adopted a suitable plan to develop affordable housing on the site or a suitable alternative site. Local housing authorities and local, regional, and statewide nonprofit housing organizations would be exempt from the conversion fee.
HB 2395 got a hearing on January 18 in the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs and is scheduled for committee action Monday afternoon.
HB 2397, by Rep. McBride, would authorize cities to impose a fee as a condition for a permit issued for the demolition of a residential dwelling. The demolition activity subject to the fee would be the removal or destruction of at least 90 percent of a structure or building, unless otherwise defined in the city’s building or zoning codes.
The fees collected would be deposited in an affordable housing fund established by the city and used to support affordable housing development. The fee would be limited to $5,000 per single-family residence and $2,500 per unit in a multi-family building, up to an aggregate total of $25,000.
There would be an exemption for a residence that will be replaced with a residence that is affordable to a household with an adjusted gross income of up to 120 percent of the area median income of the county, or if the residence is owner-occupied for at least five years before a demolition permit is issued and the owner will live in the replacement residence for at least five years.
The city would pay the same fee into the affordable housing fund for the demolition of any residence owned by the city, unless it has adopted a suitable plan to develop affordable housing on that property, or on a suitable alternative site. Local housing authorities and local, regional, and statewide nonprofit housing organizations would be exempt from the demolition fee.
HB 2397 was heard on January 18 in the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs and is scheduled for committee action Monday afternoon.
HB 2442, by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D – Poulsbo), would allow any city or county to create an Affordable Housing Incentive Zone to provide tax relief for property owners who provide affordable housing.
All property that provides affordable housing within the designated area would qualify for a 60 percent exemption in local property taxes. The exemption would apply only to the percentage of the property area that is used for affordable housing. Affordable housing would include any single-family home or multifamily unit rented to a person or family whose income is at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Rent is deemed affordable if it is not more than 30 percent of the renter’s monthly household income.
The exemption could be revoked if the property is no longer used for affordable housing, or is in violation of any health, building, fire, safety, housing, zoning, or land use codes.
HB 2442 was heard on January 19 in the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs and is not yet scheduled for committee action.
HB 2544, by Rep. Noel Frame (D – Ballard), would allow a city or county to create a local property tax exemption program to promote the preservation of affordable housing available for very low-income households. The tax exemption could apply for up to 15 consecutive years, but could be extended for an additional three years if the project meets certain energy standards.
The exemption would apply to certain multi-family properties if at least 25 percent of their units are rented at rates that are affordable to households with an income up to 50 percent of the median family income of the area. The threshold household income level could be lowered to serve severely low-income households, or raised up to 60 percent of the median family income in high property value areas. The affordability and occupancy requirements could be waived for up to three years for an incidental number of units occupied by over-income tenants at the time of the application. The multi family property would have to be part of a residential or mixed-use project and have a 90 percent occupancy rate. It would have to provide at least half of its space for permanent residents.
The city or county would be allowed to establish its own additional requirements, including a limit on the number of units eligible for the exemption, and designate target areas for affordable housing.
The tax exemption would be cancelled if the owner fails to meet the affordable housing requirements or intends to discontinue compliance, fails to complete a rehabilitation plan, or fails to substantially comply with any applicable building, safety, or health regulations.
HB 2544 was heard on January 19 in the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs and is scheduled for committee action Monday afternoon.
HB 2585, by Rep. June Robinson (D – Everett), would shift a portion of the state’s allowed private activity bond sales each year from student loans to the state’s Housing Finance Corporation. The student loan share would drop from 15% to 5%. The HFC’s share would increase from 32% to 42%.
A substitute version of HB 2585 passed out of the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Thursday morning. The substitute bill changes the timing of a report.
HB 2647, by Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D – Tacoma), would allow cities to buy properties foreclosed on by the county for tax nonpayment, so long as the city agrees to do so within 30 days of a notice of public auction, and the city then sells the property to a local housing authority or nonprofit for the same price, for the purpose of building affordable housing
HB 2647 was heard Tuesday in the House Committee on Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs and is scheduled for committee action Monday morning.
HB 2763, by Rep. Jake Fey (D – Tacoma), would push back the deadline for cities to create optional subarea plans, from 2018 to 2028. Once an optional subarea plan has gone through the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, individual developments within the subarea could not be subjected to SEPA appeals, provided the development sets aside at least 20 percent of dwelling units for sale or rental to low-income households at prices considered affordable by the city’s housing programs.
HB 2763 was heard in the House Committee on Environment Thursday and is scheduled for committee action Tuesday afternoon.
- SENATE BILLS
SB 5378, by former Senator Jeannie Kohl-Welles (D – Belltown), would prohibit discrimination in renting or leasing property based on the applicant’s legal sources of income, and also outlaw expulsion for same. 12 states, as well as King County and Vancouver (WA) already have such a prohibition.
The bill remains alive from last session, even though the sponsor is no longer a state senator.
SB 5378 was heard on January 21 in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing, and is not yet scheduled for committee action.
SB 6211, by Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R – Puyallup), would exempt properties owned by non-profits from property taxes for the purpose of building and selling affordable housing (for households less than 80% of the median household income in that county), provided that the nonprofit entity sold at least one residence to a low-income household within ten years preceding the submission of an application for this exemption.
The exemption would expire after 8 years, or when the property is transferred. If the nonprofit believes that the title will not be transferred by the end of the sixth consecutive property tax year, the entity could claim a three-year extension by filing a notice with the Department of Revenue and providing a filing fee.
If the title has not been transferred within seven years and an extension has not been granted, the property would be disqualified from exemption, and back taxes would be collected.
SB 6211 passed out of the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing on January 21 and heads next to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, where it will be heard on Tuesday, February 2, at 3:30 pm.
SB 6239, by Sen. Joe Fain (R – Auburn), is the companion to HB 2544.
SB 6239 was heard on January 18 in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing, and is scheduled for committee action Monday morning.
SB 6311, by Sen. Karen Keiser (D – Des Moines), “providing a property tax exemption for certain property within an affordable housing incentive zone” got its hearing on January 21, but only a proposed substitute version that has not yet been made available on the legislature’s website was discussed.
The proposed substitute bill would authorize counties to create, or allow cities in that county to create, affordable housing incentive zones.
Property within an incentive zone that provides affordable housing would be exempt from local property tax. All claims for exemption and renewal would have to be submitted by the owner of the property under penalty of perjury. Applications would include documentation that rents are affordable in each of the units for which an exemption is sought and households in those units have an annual income at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income. Rent would be considered affordable if including utilities other than telephone, the rent does not exceed 30 percent of the monthly household income of persons at 80 percent of the area median income. The affordable housing units would have to meet health, building, fire, safety, housing, zoning, and land use codes.
If a unit identified is no longer eligible for a property tax exemption, the property owner would have to notify the county assessor within 60 days of not being eligible. Upon revocation of the exemption, the county treasurer would collect all taxes that otherwise would have been paid had the exemption not been granted, along with interest.
Proposed Substitute SB 6311 is not yet scheduled for action in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing..
SB 6337, by Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D – Tacoma), is the companion to HB 2647.
SB 6337 was heard on January 21 in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing, and is scheduled for committee action Monday morning..
SB 6342, by Sen. Mark Miloscia (R – Federal Way), is the companion to HB 2585.
SB 6342 was heard Wednesday afternoon in the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions & Insurance, and is not yet scheduled for committee action.
SB 6422, by Sen. Miloscia, adds a number of reporting requirements around the state’s Affordable Housing for All Account, for quality control and focus on providing housing for very-low-income households.
SB 6422 is scheduled for a hearing Monday at 10 am in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health & Housing.