2020 Legislative Accomplishments: Urban Housing Supply & Tax Exemption

“The 2020 Legislative Session built on the successes we achieved in the 2019 session,” said Washington REALTORS® President Kitty Wallace. “We put money back in our members’ pockets, increased housing supply options for the entire state, and defeated several bills that would have brought harm to our industry. It was a great session for our members, homeowners, and those who want to become homeowners.”

Urban Housing Supply

In 2019, the Legislature passed HB 1923 which encouraged certain cities to take action in increasing residential building capacity and housing affordability.

This year’s HB 2343 expanded on last year’s success by:

  • Expanding the range of housing options for cities;
  • Extending the deadlines for local governments to apply for grants in adopting housing options contained in HB 1923;
  • Exempting cities from administrative or judicial appeal under the Growth Management Act (GMA) and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA); and
  • Removing population size restrictions to allow cities of all sizes to benefit from these incentives.

Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE)

HB 2950, which extends the MFTE program until January 1, 2022, officially passed in early March. This bill covers certain properties that are currently receiving a twelve-year exemption.

The MFTE program is central to urban redevelopment and housing supply efforts which focus on affordability. Many cities, including Seattle, have such a program in place. The program allows a time-limited property tax exemption for owners/developers of multi-family housing who set aside units for lower-income tenants.

B&O Tax

Real estate brokers are once again protected from the B&O Tax increase that was instituted in 2019. This exemption from the increase for brokers was clarified in a bill signed by the Governor.

Legislative accomplishments are results of our collective efforts. We are looking forward to many more accomplishments this year as we continue to work with REALTORS®, community members, and Legislators to fight for our priorities.