Washington Senate approves bill requiring 'just cause' eviction

The Washington Senate has approved a measure that would require landlords to provide a valid reason for ending certain leases with tenants.

The bill advanced out of the Democratic-led chamber Thursday on a 28-21 vote over Republican objections, and now heads back to the House — which passed the measure last month — for a final vote by that chamber on whether to concur with changes made in the Senate.

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Under current law, landlords are allowed to end month-to-month leases with 20 days’ notice, without providing a reason. Under the measure that cleared the Senate, landlords could end leases for any legitimate business or economic reason, including failure to pay rent, unlawful activity and nuisance issues, as well as cases in which a landlord intends to sell or move into a rental.

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Under the proposal, landlords who remove tenants in violation of the rules may be subject to a penalty of up to three months’ rent.