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August 2021

News In Brief

August 5, 2021

  • A federal judge has upheld renter protections passed by the Seattle City Council in 2017, finding they are a reasonable approach for reducing housing discrimination. The protections, enshrined in the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, prohibit most landlords from inquiring about the criminal history of renters or prospective renters. The city said it was trying to reduce barriers to housing for people with criminal records and to reduce discrimination in housing, because people of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. A group of landlords sued in 2018, claiming violations of their property and free-speech rights. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour ruled in favor of the city on July 6.

  • With residential electricity use projected to increase by 2.8% this year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021's Most & Least Energy-Expensive States. For a better understanding of Americans' energy costs relative to their location and consumption habits, WalletHub compared the average monthly energy bills in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia using a special formula that accounts for the following residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.

Energy Consumption & Costs in Washington (1=Most Expensive; 25=Avg.):

  • Avg. Monthly Energy Bill: $262
  • 51st - Price of Electricity
  • 23rd - Electricity Consumption per Consumer
  • 30th - Price of Natural Gas
  • 34th - Natural-Gas Consumption per Consumer
  • 48th - Motor-Fuel Consumption per Driver

Click here for the full report.

  • A moratorium on evictions has been extended several times -- all to help struggling renters during the pandemic. Governor Jay Inslee extended the state's moratorium until Sept. 30. But advocates for tenants and property owners warn there's a lot of important information that people need to know about. For renters in King County, seek out the ERAP --Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Get an application in. That will protect you from eviction, according to a report by KOMO News. That's the number one thing that will protect people today if they have backdraft. Starting Aug. 1 tenants are expected to pay full rent unless they negotiate a lower amount with their landlord or they seek rental assistance.

  • The National Association of Realtors® announced the roster of its 2022 Leadership Academy class. Twenty Realtors® from across the country have been chosen to participate in the 10-month program, which will prepare emerging state and local volunteers for future leadership positions at NAR. The twenty Realtors® selected, who will join a nationwide community of leaders with influence throughout the industry, will participate in both virtual and in-person educational experiences as part of the Academy. During the 10-month journey, participants will learn the inner workings of NAR and gain key insights that will prepare them to serve in prominent committee roles and leadership positions at every level of the association. Two Realtors® from Washington state who were selected to participate in the 2022 NAR Leadership class are Georgia Stevens and Jeff Smart.

  • A new, temporary federal program could cut the costs of home broadband internet for millions of Americans who qualify for the initiative, which could help expand residential web access. Under the program, qualifying families receive a discount on broadband internet of up to $50 a month. Those eligible for the program include:
      • People who have lost their job or been furloughed.
      • Residents who have an income that is less than or equal to 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
      • Applicants who regularly participate in federal assistance programs that include SNAP, Medicaid or Lifeline.
      • Current recipients of the Pell Grant.

Those who qualify can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 on the costs of a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. For those interested in applying, check laptop, desktop the FCC website to see if your internet provider participates in the program.

There are three ways to apply:

      1. Contact your provider to learn about their application process.
      2. Submit an online application at GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
      3. Call 833-511-0311 for an application that can be submitted via U.S. mail.

For people who are not eligible for the broadband program, Consumer Reports says there are still ways to find savings for your web bill. "Buying your own modem or router instead of renting one from the internet company can help save you money in the long run," said Jim Wilcox, a tech editor at Consumer Reports magazine. Just make sure the modem is compatible with your internet service provider, or ISP. That information can usually be found on their website.

Another way to save?

Consumer Reports says sometimes just asking your provider for a discount is all it takes. Calling on a weekday could also connect you with higher-level reps with better discounts that might be available.