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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane City Council overrides mayoral veto on some landlord-tenant reforms

As the sun sets in downtown Spokane, Washington, a pedestrian walks by the entrance of the City Hall building, Monday, Oct 11, 2021.   (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Another veto, another override.

On Monday, the Spokane City Council voted 5-2 to override a mayoral veto of landlord-tenant reforms originally passed in February.

Last month, the Council approved two renters’ rights ordinances, one of which was passed unanimously and one, opposed by the mayor, which passed 5-2.

Ordinance 36366, which contained broader reforms to make it easier to find a rental, was originally opposed by Mayor Nadine Woodward and Council members Michael Cathcart and Jonathan Bingle, who cited in part concerns about overregulation and downstream effects on rental stock and renters.

That ordinance created new anti-retaliation protections for tenant-rights advocates and requires landlords to disclose a history of mold or meth manufacturing in the unit.

It also set aside funds to support tenants who need to relocate because of uninhabitable living conditions, and to mitigate damages to landlords caused by a resident receiving rental support from a government or nonprofit.

The ordinance also created a “portable” background and credit check to apply to multiple rentals at one time. It’s optional for landlords to accept, though.

At the time, Woodward argued that the new portable background check and other regulations could hurt the city’s already insufficient affordable housing supply.

“While I appreciate that some give and take occurred, the risk is still very real that the new regulations imposed on landlords will harm the very tenants it is intended to help,” she wrote.

Bingle and Cathcart voted against overriding the veto.