Senate committee passes another Padden bill removing red tape from construction of smaller condominiums

In 2023 the Legislature unanimously approved a bill from 4th District Sen. Mike Padden that helps encourage home ownership in Washington by making it easier for smaller condominium buildings to be constructed.

During this year’s legislative session, Padden has introduced a similar condo-construction proposal. The bipartisan measure was approved yesterday by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

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.

“This legislation builds on last year’s new law that supports our state’s efforts to have more housing options for Washington’s middle class,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Condominiums offer an affordable path to homeownership for first-time homebuyers.”

Those who testified in favor of SB 5792 before the panel included Spokane Valley City Council member Rod Higgins, Spokane City Council President Betsy Wilkerson, Greenstone Corporation’s Jim Frank and officials from the Washington Realtors Association and the Building Industry Association of Washington.

SB 5792 is expected to be sent to the Senate Rules Committee, the final hurdle before a bill reaches the Senate floor.

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 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,” added Padden.