The WA State Supreme Court has ruled the state can have a say, or intervene, in cases where tenants have been evicted for alleged criminal behavior.

  Case involves crime-free housing zones in Sunnyside

Sunnyside is one of a number of cities that have created crime-free housing zones. Tenants agree to work with landlords and law enforcement to help prevent crime in these (often) low-income rental properties. Committing crimes or engaging in criminal activity can result in the tenant losing their housing.

However, this WA AG case involves allegations the tenants were not given proper notification or had their rights violated. According to Crosscut:

"In its 2020 lawsuit, the state claims that Sunnyside, in Yakima County, abused the program by forcing tenants out of their homes over unsubstantiated claims of crime or nuisance without a court order. The lawsuit said dozens of residents were forced out of their homes with little or no notice. The majority of the 43 alleged unlawful evictions between 2014 and 2019 involved Latino residents, women or families with children."

The suit claims law enforcement did not adhere to the US Constitution or fair housing and other laws. But a Yakima County Superior Court Summary Judgement sided with the City, saying the city is not subject to liability under the Rental Landlord Tentat Act, and the AG is not allowed to enforce the private rights of small numbers of people.

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But now the State Supreme Court reversed that judgment and says the AG's lawsuit against Sunnyside can continue.

13 New Washington State Laws You Need to Know About for 2024 (Updated June 2024)

13 . Concerning paid sick leave for any employee

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby


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