House Housing Committee passes two Padden bills

A House committee has advanced two bills introduced by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden, including one that helps encourage home ownership in Washington by making it easier to construct smaller condominium buildings.

The House Housing Committee yesterday approved Senate Bill 5792, which would exclude buildings with 12 or fewer units that are no more than three stories high from the definition of “multiunit residential building” if one story is utilized for above- or below-ground parking or retail space.

“This bill builds on last year’s successful measure to have more housing options for Washington’s middle class,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Condominiums provide an affordable path to homeownership for first-time homebuyers.”

When SB 5792 received a public hearing in the Housing Committee last week, Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley testified in favor of it, as did an official with the Building Industry Association of Washington. Earlier this session, Spokane City Council President Betsy Wilkerson testified in support of the bill.

The law created last year by Padden’s Senate Bill 5058 exempts buildings with 12 or fewer units that are no more than two stories high from the definition of “multiunit residential building.”

Padden said the combination of that law and this year’s new bill should result in more homeownership in the state.

“Washington has one of the lower homeownership rates in the nation, and both last year’s new law and this year’s bill can help our state address this problem,” said Padden. “These smaller condominiums would still have the same building requirements that a townhouse or single-family house would have.”

The House Housing Committee yesterday also passed Senate Bill 5840, Padden’s measure that would simplify the process of leasing property – a change requested by the Washington State Bar Association to bring Washington in line with other states.

“Washington is the rare state that requires commercial leases that are over a year to be acknowledged before a notary,” said Padden. “Many legal documents do not need to be notarized. By eliminating the notary, these transactions will be a little easier.”