WORKING FOR CHANGE
One of the most effective ways to achieve justice for consumers is to change harmful laws and policies. We work with and lobby legislators at the local, state, and national levels to effect change.
Our Advocacy Work
With the support of our partners and allies, NWCLC has developed and championed these bills, to further our mission.
HB 2081/SB 5968 will protect homeowners from predatory and deceptive contracts that often lead families into foreclosure.
Home Equity Sharing Agreements (HESAs) are deceptive agreements between an investor and a homeowner. It targets vulnerable people who are short on cash by misleading them to sign away their home equity. There is currently no cap on the amount of equity an investor can take in addition to invading regulation, they prevent homeowners from refinancing and making home improvements.
If signed HB 2081/SB 5968 will work towards:
- Bringing HESA contracts under the definition of a mortgage.
- Caps the amount of equity an investor can take.
cost to the consumer clearer and will facilitate accurate disclosures.
- Prohibits the investor from putting a lien on the property.
The Fair Shot Act, a bill to increase the personal property exemption, is before the Washington State legislature.
When filing for bankruptcy, a debtor can protect the equity in their personal property up to a certain limit. If the value of the property is less than the limit, the bankruptcy trustee cannot seize and sell that property. The National Consumer Law Center, gives our state a "C" grade for protecting the personal property of working families.
If passed, The Fair Shot Act would increase the exemption and help ensure that:
- Working families keep their cars
- People keep enough money in their bank account to cover rent and necessities
- Small business owners keep the tools they need to run their business
- Injured people protect their compensation for pain and suffering
Governor Inslee signed SB 5408 into law on May 12, 2021, raising the homestead exemption to the county median sale price.
The homestead exemption keeps people in their homes during tough times. When filing for bankruptcy, a debtor can protect the equity in their primary residence up to a certain limit. If the value of the home is less than the limit, the bankruptcy trustee cannot seize and sell the home. The exemption also protects small businesses struggling to stay afloat in the face of COVID-19 shutdowns.
At $125,000—a figure last updated in 2007—Washington's homestead exemption was one of the nation's lowest. The passage of SB 5408 helps restore homestead fairness to Washington by:
- Raising the homestead exemption from $125,000 to the median value per county of a single-family home.
- Ensuring bankruptcy filers won't lose their homestead exemption due to property value increases after the date of filing.
2023 Legislative Priorities
The following are bills created by NWCLC's partner organizations that we have signed onto and are supporting as an organization.
House Bill 1184 will enact the Used Motor Vehicles Express Warranties Act, which would help protect low income people from auto fraud.
This new bill would require used motor vehicle dealers to provide an express warranty for used motor vehicles in specific circumstances. The warranty requires that the used car is substantially free of any defects that would significantly limit the use of the vehicle.
Currently, the communities NWCLC serves have minimal options when they purchase a used car that presents mechanical or safety issues several months after purchase. HB 1184 will empower NWCLC to better serve low income families subjected to automobile fraud. As such, NWCLC strongly supports the passage of HB 1184.
SB 5059 will provide relief for fault-free victims of reckless driving while they wait for their case to settle.
Prejudgment interest (PJI) — interest on the damages awarded to victims of reckless driving — is currently only given to the victim after they take their case to court. However, lawsuits can take years to resolve, leaving the victim with piling debt. Currently, 46 states have broader PJI than Washington.
Fault-free victims of reckless driving should be compensated from the day they were injured and left unable to work. This bill, presented by the Washington State Association For Justice would change the Washington Law to provide interest starting the day the victim is injured.
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Questions about our advocacy work?
Get in touch with our staff.