Housing

Redmond is a diverse community that approximately 69,000 people call home and where 87,000 are employed.  People from throughout the region come here to work in industries such as software, aerospace, interactive media and electronics.  As the number of people who desire to live in Redmond has increased, the supply of housing affordable at various levels has not kept pace with the demand.

Planning for Housing

Increased demand for housing in Redmond has resulted in higher home prices and rents.  This in turn has affected the ability for first-time home buyers, workers earning minimum wage and those on fixed incomes to live here.  With a significant increase in population expected by 2050, the City has planned for this growth while maintaining the quality of neighborhoods and by using a comprehensive approach to address a range of housing issues.

Council Passes New Tenant Protections

On July 19, 2022, Redmond City Council adopted Ordinance No. 3091, establishing new tenant protections. This action created a new chapter 9.54 of the Redmond Municipal Code to Adopted Tenant Protections, effective on July 30. The ordinance increases notification for rent increases, caps late fees, caps move-in fees and deposits, authorizes tenant payment plans, and provides for severability, including establishing an effective date.

What has changed? 

  1. Landlords are required in most cases to provide a minimum of 120 days written notice of rent increases greater than 3 percent (3%)
  2. Landlords are required in most cases to provide a minimum of 180 days written notice of rent increases greater than 10 percent (10%)
  3. Established a cap on fees for late rental payments of 1.5 percent (1.5%) of a tenant’s monthly rent 
  4. Established a cap in most cases on move-in fees and security deposits of no more than one month’s rent and allow tenants to pay in installments
  5. Landlords may ask an applicant for a social security number, but if it is not provided, a landlord cannot use that as a cause for declining the tenant.

When does it go into effect?

The effective date will be July 30, 2022.

Where can I review the ordinance language? 

Ordinance 3091AM is online. 

Background

In April 2022, A Regional Coalition for Housing (ARCH) requested the Mayors and City Councils of ARCH member jurisdictions, including Redmond, to consider a set of tenant protections to address the economic impacts of rent increases that are anticipated in our region. This was in response to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recent release of new area median income (AMI) tables that will increase the basis by which rents are calculated for affordable housing programs in the region, which shows possible rent increase for low-income tenants of up to 16 percent. The City continues to pursue longer-term strategies to address the shortage of affordable housing consistent with the recommendations contained within the Housing Action Plan (HAP). However, there were also short-term actions in the HAP that included advocacy for state-level eviction reforms. Passing this ordinance supports the Council’s high priority goals of identifying increased tenant protections and resources for renters. Aligning the Redmond ordinance with the King County ordinance creates consistency between the two jurisdictions with the greatest supply of income restricted housing in the ARCH member jurisdictions. 

How will the ordinance be enforced? 

Violations of Chapter 9.54 RMC may subject a landlord to liability if a tenant successfully pursues a private right of action against the landlord. Egregious violations of the chapter may be enforceable as a misdemeanor.

What’s next?

Redmond will continue the conversation regarding housing stability as part of Redmond 2050 project, track the effects of any tenant protections that are adopted, and continue to solicit feedback from stakeholders including OneRedmond Government Affairs, the Rental Housing Association of Washington, developers of affordable housing projects, renters, and others.

Where can I get help?

The City has contracted with Eastside Legal Assistance Program to provide eviction prevention assistance for Redmond residents at risk of losing their housing. Click here for more information.