Over the past week, there have been significant changes made to the Tenant-Landlord Ordinance C36330. As of this post, the current document accessible to the public on the city’s website is not even updated with the changes made on 1/16/2023. Tenant leaders first heard about these changes yesterday 1/19/23. The late changes happened after tenants had their listening session with City Council Members Michael Cathcart and Karen Stratton, after the landlord-tenant listening session with the above-listed and Mayor Nadine Woodward, and after many groups including ours said to support the version we had initially understood the ordinance to be draft 12/07/22. We still support the original draft with the revisions we were told were missing at the tenant listening session on 1/10/23.



These Tenant-landlord ordinances have been in the works for over 5 years. In 2019, there was the first session with a better ordinance that had provisions that would limit how much deposits landlords could charge, damaged deposits needed a walkthrough before the landlord could collect a deposit, and it included other great tenant protections. December 12th, 2019 was supposed to be the vote, but Spokane City Council deferred the vote to the meeting on March 9th, 2020 which was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. These issues were once again brought to light as the moratorium provided tenant protections that have not been available to Spokane tenants prior. With the moratorium being lifted tenants in Spokane once again began asking for modest proposals to lay the groundwork for basic tenant rights in Spokane. Since then there have been three listening sessions first a Landlord only, then a tenant, and lastly a landlord and tenant listening session. After the listening sessions, all 7 council members got together. 3 support the 12/7/22 draft (Beggs, Wilkerson, Zappone), 2 opposed (Cathcart, Bingle), and 2 were somewhere in the middle (Stratten, Kinnear).

Those that were in the middle wrote the new revision that seems to have a lot of extra landlord input, while tenant leaders were not contacted at all about these revisions. “They made these changes on their own, I guess on what they thought we said”. -Terri Anderson WA Tenants Union Director


The Changes:


Access and see all the changes made to the document yourself. We have provided a compared PDF of the changes made to both documents. You can access the comparable document here.


A few notable changes:

  • Tenant “expectations” (sec 10.57.090)
      1. Insects/Pests = landlord responsibility
      2. Plumbing = landlord responsibility
      3. What are the penalties?
      4. Could a landlord use this to evict a tenant?
  • Removed $10/unit fee to fund code enforcement/ HB1590 Levy funds used instead

  • Code Enforcement funds SMC 07.08.139 will be used for “Ombudsman Services”

  • Removed requirement of landlords to provide tenants with move-in packet & w/ legal info, change of address, voting, etc. Instead, City Utility department sends packets to first-time users (mostly homeowners)

  • Property management companies may have licenses on behalf of landlords

  • Removed education for landlords entirely

  • Landlord Walkthrough/Inspections

    1. Self- inspect

    2. Self- repair

    3. Already state law

  • Code enforcement & Inspections

    1. Code enforcement is under mayor’s office and not the city council

    2. Restricts code enforcement

  • “Ombudsman Services

REVISED 1/16/23