REALTORĀ® Call for Action!

2023 Washington REALTORS'® Legislative Priorities:

Improve Consumer Protections in Real Estate Agency Law (SB 5191/HB 1284)

Washington State’s real estate agency law, Chapter 18.86 RCW, has not been updated since its adoption in the 1990s.  Existing law does not require certain basic consumer protections, and does not reflect modern industry best practices. This legislation will both protect consumers and avoid litigation seen in other states. For example, the bill would improve disclosures of real estate broker duties, require a written buyer agency agreement for a broker to be compensated, require terms of compensation in writing, and ensure that the legal duties of brokers protect all parties in a transaction – not just the broker’s own client.

Allow Middle Housing in Cities (SB 5190/HB 1110)

“Middle Housing” types are duplex to six-plex units, townhouses, cottage houses, and other smaller housing types that fit within existing residential neighborhoods. The lack of housing supply is caused by lack of building land, and antiquated city zoning that locks up over 70% of residential land solely for single-family housing. Allowing middle housing in all residential areas would still allow single-family housing, but provide more options to increase housing supply and affordable homeownership.

Allow Detached Accessory Dwelling Units in Rural Areas (SB 5357/HB 1133)

The housing supply crisis is not just an urban problem.  While some counties have enacted ordinances allowing detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in rural areas, other county ADU ordinances have been rejected by the Growth Hearings Boards.  In these counties, large attached ADUs could be built, but smaller more affordable ADUs are prohibited. This legislation is based on a recent detached ADU ordinance adopted in Snohomish County with bipartisan and unanimous support, and that was not appealed to the Growth Board. The bill allows detached ADUs, but regulates the size, appearance, and location of detached ADUs in rural areas.

Streamline Regulations that Increase Housing Costs & Litigation (HB 1293)

Unnecessary regulatory processes add significant costs and litigation risk to new housing supply, without providing any environmental or community benefit. This bill streamlines SEPA review of new housing by applying the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) at the planning stage, rather than to each individual project; and requires that any design review process be integrated with other project review action (not be a separate process) and be based on objective development regulations adopted by cities, not subjective “eye of the beholder” review.

Increasing the Supply & Affordability of Condominiums (SB 5258/HB 1298)

Condominiums are the most affordable type of homeownership, but the supply of new condominiums in Washington is among the worst in the country.  This bill improves the condominium market by improving the process to repair condominium defects (“Right to Cure”), streamlines the process for construction of smaller condominium projects, ensures reasonable impact fees for condominiums, and provides a condominium tax incentive for certain qualified first-time homebuyers.

Transit Oriented Development (SB 5466)

Washington State’s multi-billion dollar transit investments necessitate land use and zoning near transit that increases housing supply and community services for transit users. Transit-Oriented Development (“TOD”) regulations would apply in areas next to the largest transit facilities like light rail to ensure that new housing supply is commensurate with the State’s transit investments. Cities would have flexibility to allow different types of TOD near station areas.

Exempting Residential Sale/Leasebacks from Landlord-Tenant Act (SB 5337/HB 1070)

When a house is sold, sometimes the seller is not yet ready to move out, or the buyer is not able to move in. In this situation, the buyer and seller will agree to a written “leaseback” as part of the sale so that the seller stays in the house after closing for a certain period of time. This is not a typical landlord-tenant type situation, so this bill would clarify that a sale/leaseback is exempt from the state’s landlord-tenant act.

Learn more at Welcome Home.



Unlock the Door to Affordable Homeownership Campaign:


Washington state, including Snohomish County, has been hard-hit by a lack of affordable housing opportunities, which has impacted buyers, sellers & renters. According to the U.S. Census, in 2018, nearly 99,000 households in Snohomish County were cost-burdened—meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. And that number has only increased since then! Families in all income groups are struggling to find home-ownership opportunities.

  • Young people can’t afford to live in the county they grew up in.
  • Seniors who want to downsize and stay in the community they call home have few options.
  • Low-income families lack access to quality housing.

Everyone benefits from more affordable housing opportunities. Having access to quality, affordable housing is critical for economic stability and future mobility, as well as healthy, thriving communities.

We need to work with our state and local elected officials to solve this growing crisis in our communities, which includes educating lawmakers about real world impacts on all Washingtonians.

The Snohomish County-Camano Association of REALTORS® has launched a local "Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership Snohomish County" campaign to address the housing affordability crisis.

Visit  to sign a petition to let your local elected officials know you support local legislation to increase housing supply which will increase affordable homeownership opportunities in our area.

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