April 16, 2021
The House-passed operating budget assumes passage of HB 1277. As passed by the House, E2SHB 1277 would impose a $100 surcharge on recorded documents. (Some documents would be exempt from the surcharge, including documents recording births and marriages.) Of the revenues from the surcharge,
- 5% would go to the affordable housing for all account (for permanent supportive housing),
- 4% during the 2021–23 biennium and 2% thereafter would go to the landlord mitigation program account, and
- the remainder would go to the home security fund account.
The bill would also create the eviction prevention rental assistance program “to prevent evictions by providing resources to households most likely to become homeless or suffer severe health consequences, or both, after an eviction, while promoting equity by prioritizing households, including communities of color, disproportionately impacted by public health emergencies and by homelessness and housing instability.”
The portion of the recorded document surcharge in the home security fund account would be used to fund this new program. It could also be used for “project-based vouchers for nonprofit housing providers, foreclosure prevention services, dispute resolution center eviction prevention services, rental assistance for people experiencing homelessness, and tenant education and legal assistance.”
The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved the bill this month, with amendments. The W&M version would dedicate 20% of the surcharge to the affordable housing for all account and specify that 60% of the deposit to the home security fund account would go to “project-based vouchers for nonprofit housing providers and related services and rapid rehousing and acquisition.” The remainder would go to the eviction prevention rental assistance program.
According to the fiscal note (for the bill as passed by the House), the bill would increase revenues by $292.0 million in 2021–23. Of that, $265.7 million would go to the home security fund account, $14.6 million would go to the affordable housing for all account, and $11.7 million would go to the landlord mitigation program account. The House-passed operating budget would appropriate $271.6 million from the home security fund and $14.6 million from the affordable housing for all account to implement HB 1277. The budget specifies that $150.0 million of that would be used for the eviction rental assistance program.
The state already has three document recording surcharges for housing assistance in place:
- $13 Affordable Housing for All surcharge (RCW 36.22.178; first imposed in 2002 at $10)
- $62 Local Homeless Housing and Assistance surcharge (RCW 36.22.179; first imposed in 2005 at $10)
- $8 additional Local Homeless Housing and Assistance surcharge (RCW 36.22.1791; first imposed in 2007)
The current standard document recording fee, including all current surcharges, is $103.50 for the first page. Thus, HB 1277 would almost double current fees.Categories: Budget , Tax Policy.