Washington State is 1st state to enact right to counsel for tenants
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
10/09/2021, Legislation, Housing - Evictions
UPDATE: statewide right to counsel goes live!
UPDATE: statewide implementation plan released
Washington State’s Office of Civil Legal Aid has publicly released the implementation plan for the newly-enacted statewide right to counsel for tenants facing eviction.
In April 2021, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5160, which makes the state the first to guarantee counsel for indigent tenants in eviction cases. It specifies that "Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the court must appoint an attorney for an indigent tenant in an unlawful detainer proceeding under this chapter and chapters 59.12 and 59.20 RCW." The bill has a flexible definition of "indigent" and routes the funds through the Office of Civil Legal Aid.
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no
The NCCRC provided support and input on the bill.