Legislature OKs second Padden bill removing red tape from construction of smaller condominiums

For the second year in a row, the Legislature has unanimously approved a bill introduced by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden that helps encourage home ownership in Washington by making it easier to construct smaller condominium buildings.

Senate Bill 5792 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.

The House of Representatives passed the measure on Friday 96-0 after the Senate approved it 49-0 last month. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for final consideration.

“This bill builds on last year’s efforts 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 House Housing Committee last month, Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley and an official with the Building Industry Association of Washington testified in favor of it.

During a public hearing on SB 5792 in the Senate Law and Justice Committee early this session, Spokane City Council President Betsy Wilkerson and Spokane Valley City Council member Rod Higgins 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 SB 5058 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 policies 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.”