Occupancy Policy

On November 20, 2018, the Tacoma City Council passed the Rental Housing Code providing protections for tenants and specific guidance to landlords who operate residential rental businesses in Tacoma , “Rental Housing Code 1.95” This code is for rentals located within the city of Tacoma only.

This code requires, at time of application,

  1. the landlord must provide the tenant with their written rental criteria (shown below)
  2. the website address designated by the City for the purpose of obtaining information:
  3. Local code enforcement action relating to the property and findings or settlements related to housing discrimination against the landlord in pursuant to TMC 1.29
  4. Website address to the Washington Secretary of State for the purposes of registering to vote or changing address if already register to vote: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/register.aspx

Occupancy is primarily based on the total square feet of living space, the City of Tacoma requires 200 sq feet per person, this can be rounded up so that 550 square feet could house 3 people. However, this can be further limited based on other factors such as: total bedrooms (average of 2 persons per bedroom), septic size (a septic approved for 3 people can only house 3 people, regardless of square feet), etc.

General Statements

  • All adult residents must provide picture ID “In Person” prior to move in (during application or move in process), this is to ensure the individuals screened match the actual occupants.
  • Each adult rental application will be required to qualify individually.
  • Inaccurate or falsified information will be grounds for denial of the application.
  • Any applicant currently using illegal drugs will be denied and, if approved for tenancy and illegal drug use is later confirmed, the tenant shall be evicted.
  • Any individual, whose tenancy may constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of any individual, the complex, or the property of others, shall be denied tenancy.

Holding Fees

Holding fees are equivalent to per day rent and will be charged from the day the home is ready to rent until occupancy.

Income Criteria

  • Monthly bring home (net) income should be equal to 3 times the stated rental amount and must be from a verifiable and legal source.
  • Income less than 3 times will require a qualified co/signer and/or last months rent to be paid in advance.

Employment Criteria

  • Twelve months of current verifiable income will be required if used as the source of income.
  • Self-employed applications will be verified through state corporation commission and may be required to submit last 3 months bank statements and last two year’s tax returns.

Rental History

  • Twelve months of verifiable contractual rental history from a current third party landlord or home ownership is required. References directly from THA or PCH are not considered as rental history.
  • Otherwise co-signer may be allowed as an exception.
  • Five (5) years of eviction free history is required.
  • Three (3) or more 72 hour notices within one year will result in the denial of the application.
  • Three (3) or more NSF’s within one year will result in the denial of the application.
  • Rental history reflecting past due and unpaid rent will result in the denial of the application.

Credit Criteria

  • Credit score of 650 or more is required, negative or adverse debt showing on consumer credit report may require last months rent in advance, additional security deposits, and a qualified co-signer.
  • Credit score of less than 650 and/or three (3) or more unpaid collections MAY be considered with a qualified co/signer and lasts months rent to be paid in advance (this will depend on the circumstances surrounding the low credit score and/or collections – you will need to prove they were not avoidable and/or malicious and/or purposefully committed)

Criminal Conviction Criteria

Upon receipt of the rental application and screening fee, landlord will conduct a search of public records to determine whether the applicant or any proposed applicant has been convicted of, or pled guilty to or no-contest to, any crime. The following shall be grounds for denial of the rental application:

  • A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea for any felony involving serious injury, kidnapping, death, arson, rape, sex crimes, and /or child sex crimes, extensive property damage or drug-related offences (sale, manufacture, deliver, or possession with intent to sell);
  • A conviction, guilty plea or no-contest plea, where the disposition, release or parole have occurred within the last 7 years for any felony or misdemeanour conviction charge;
  • All other criminal histories will depend on individual facts such as the type and severity of the offense and how long ago the offense occured, such as:
    • The facts surrounding the criminal conduct
    • The age of the individual at the time of the conduct
    • Evidence that the potential tenant has maintained good rental history before and after the offense
    • Evidence that the person has taken rehabilitation efforts

Pending charges or outstanding warrants for any of the above will result in a suspension of the application process until the charges are resolved. Upon resolution, if an appropriate unit is still available, the processing of the application will be completed. No unit will be held awaiting resolution of pending charges.

Co-Signer requirements

  • Credit score of 700 or more is required, any negative or adverse debt showing the consumer credit report will not qualify for co-signing.
  • Income needs to be minimum of 4 times the rental amount for the property that is being applied for, and must be a minimum of 12 months from a verifiable and legal source. Self-employed applications will be verified through state corporation commission, and may be required to submit their last two year’s tax returns.