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Public Records Request
Washington law provides the public access to copies of records of public agencies, with certain exceptions. RCW 42.56. The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (the Commission) makes its records available under that law. The Commission does not have jurisdiction over the records of other public agencies. See more information below.
HOW TO REQUEST COPIES OF RECORDS
If you wish to review or obtain copies of Commission records follow these steps.
- Check the Commission’s website.
The website contains many pages of documents available for viewing and copying, for free. See examples below.*
- You do not need to make a formal request to
view those records - just check the website.
- If you don't find the record you want on the
website, call the Commission.
Perhaps you missed the record. Commission staff may be able to find the online record for you, and give you the link. Once you are provided a link this will serve as a copy of the record. Or, if you are making an informal routine inquiry for a Commission record (such as for a copy of a brochure or a report), you do not need to make a formal public records request. Just contact the Commission and request it.
PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST FORM
- If the record is not available on the Commission’s website, and
you want to make a formal public records request under the Public
Records Act, fill out the Commission’s Public Records Request Form,
linked at the bottom of this page.
- This form provides the Commission the information needed to
begin a search for potentially responsive documents, if any, and
follow up with you if staff has questions for you. If you don't use
the form, make sure you include all the information from the form in
your written request, including your name, address, telephone, email
address, and a detailed description of the records you request. Your
request must be confirmed in writing.
- Send the Commission’s Public Records Request Form to the
Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Mailing address:
Washington State Housing Finance Commission, 1000 Second Avenue,
Suite 2700, Seattle, WA 98104-1046; Attention Public Records
Officer; Fax: (206) 587-5113; Email: If you send your request by
Email, send it ONLY to firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps the Commission
make sure your request is received and you receive a timely
response. The Commission does not accept public records requests
sent to other email addresses.
- Send all requests to the attention of the public records
officer. The Commission’s Public Records Officer will sign the
request, keep a copy and forward the Public Records Request to the
appropriate program for a timely response.
- You will receive a confirmation within 5 business days. Then,
stay in touch with the Commission if staff need time and/or more
information to process your request. If Commission staff have
questions for you about your request, or need other information,
they will contact you. Make sure you answer any questions and
provide other responses in the time identified; otherwise your
request will be closed. If you change your mind and don't want a
record, let the Commission know.
- You will be provided records responsive to your request, if any. Some records may be provided in installments. Some records or information may be exempt from public disclosure or exempt for a period of time. Commission staff will let you know if that is the case, and why the information or record is exempt. You will be responsible for paying any copying and mailing costs. Commission staff will let you know what those are. See fee schedule below.
Generally, all the Commission's files are available for public inspection, unless exempt from disclosure under the provisions of RCW 42.56. Examples of information that are not available for public review include, but are not limited to:
Records protected by the Attorney-Client privilege. (RCW 5.60.060(2)(a)).
Certain confidential personal information maintained on borrowers or applicants for Commission programs to the extent disclosure violates the individual’s right to privacy. See e.g., RCW 42.56.230(4) (exempting financial information from disclosure).
Lists of individuals to be used for commercial purposes (RCW 42.56.070(9)).
Certain confidential personal information maintained on employees, appointees, or elected officials to the extent disclosure violates the individual’s right to privacy (RCW 42.56.230(2)).
Records relevant to a controversy and protected under the work product doctrine (RCW 42.56.290).
In addition, the Commission reserves the right to redact portions of otherwise disclosable public records where there is an invasion of personal privacy protected by RCW 42.56; or, where the information is otherwise exempt from production.
* Examples of records available on the WSHFC website: Contact lists by program area; statutes; interpretive statements; external policies; manuals; fact books; brochures; videos; commission meeting agendas, materials, and minutes; strategic plans; reports; other forms and reports; news releases; and, other information. Information on the website is updated regularly.
|Type of Record Fee||Cost|
|Standard sized (8 ½ x 11) black and white paper copies of public records maintained on paper or maintained electronically and printed on paper||$.15 per page (each side is one page)|
|Standard sized (8 ½ x 11) color paper copies of public records maintained on paper or maintained electronically and printed on paper||$.15 cents per page (each side is one page)|
|CD of copies||$1.00 per CD plus scanning fee for any scanned records; no additional fee for copying electronic records onto CD|
|DVD of copies||$1.00 per DVD plus scanning fee for any scanned records; no additional fee for copying electronic records onto DVD|
|Nonstandard (oversized copies, photographs, etc.)||Actual cost|
|Scanned paper records||$.10 per page scanning fee (each image is one page)|
|Statements and reports filed under RCW 42.14A||Actual cost of paper copies; many statements and reports are available for inspecting online at no cost; RCW 42.17A.020|
|Video tapes, cassette tapes, or slides.||Actual cost|
|Records copied by an outside vendor. An outside vendor may be used due to volume, current workload of commission staff, unique nature of the request, or any reason.||Actual cost|
|Records on Commission website||No charge for viewing|
|Records inspected in Commission offices||No charge for viewing|
|Any other record not described above||Actual cost|
GUIDELINES FOR WAIVING FEES AND ARRANGING PAYMENT
for Records Produced in Response to Public Records Requests Under RCW 42.56
- Washington State Housing Finance Commission Fee
The Commission Fee Schedule applies to all public records requests made under RCW 42.56
- Small Response:
Fees are automatically waived when the total response to a request is less than 10 pages.
- Other Waiver:
The Public Records Officer may waive fees (copying & mailing) when the total fees in response to a request, or the fees installment, is $5.00 or less. (That is because it costs at least $5.00 to process a payment.)
- Unwaived Fees:
All unwaived fees must be paid prior to providing records.
a. Records are not to be provided until unwaived fees are paid.
b. The Public Records Officer will advise the requester of the fees due, and provide the requester an invoice with a deadline for payment.
c. Once the invoice is paid, the records will be provided.
d. The next installment will not be processed (records searched, reviewed) until the requester timely pays for a prior installment.
e. If an invoice is not paid by the deadline, the Public Records Officer will make a note in the file and place a copy of the unpaid invoice in the file, and close the request. WAC 390-14-030
The Public Records Officer may require a deposit of 10 percent of the estimated cost of an installment or request prior to producing a request. WAC 390-14-030. The Public Records Officer will obtain guidance from the Executive Director on when a deposit will be required before processing a request. Other examples of factors that may be considered in requiring a deposit:
f. The request is very large and/or will require an extensive or extended (multiple-month) allocation of agency resources.
g. The requester has an outstanding unpaid invoice from a prior public records request, an outstanding unpaid penalty from a Commission enforcement proceeding, or other documented history showing prior unpaid bills (e.g. bankruptcy proceeding; or, requester is a political committee with reports showing outstanding unpaid debt after an election).
h. The request will involve outside vendors costs, other direct costs not typically incurred by the Commission in responding to a request, or other unusual or unanticipated costs (e.g., copying videos).
i. Unused deposits will be returned to the requester.
- Payment Mechanisms:
Payments may be made by cash, check or money order. See Commission Fee Schedule.
a. Checks and money orders are to be made payable to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
b. Cash payments shall be placed into the petty cash fund and accounted for in the usual procedure for that fund.
c. The Commission does not have the ability to process credit card or debit card payments or to make change.
- Other Payment Issues:
The Public Records Officer will consult with the Executive Director if other payment issues arise that are not addressed in the Commission Fee Schedule or these Guidelines.
OTHER INFORMATION – FEES AND PAYMENT
Actual costs are determined at the time the record is produced. Factors include but are not limited to materials, outside vendor cost and other direct costs in producing the request.
Actual costs of mailing records, including postage and mailing containers, are added to the fees above.
There is no charge for emailing records if emailing is feasible, but other costs may apply (scanning fees, outside vendor costs). It may not be feasible to email records if the volume is too large to be sent or received, or for other reasons based upon limitations in technology (the agency’s or the requester’s).
Payment must be made by cash, or check or money order payable to the Washington State Treasurers. The WSHFC has no ability to accept credit card or debit card payments. If paying with cash, the exact amount is required as WSHFC has no ability to make change.
The Public Records Officer may require a deposit, and/or payment for each installment before providing the next installment. The Public Records Officer will require full payments before providing the records.
No charges will be assessed if records responsive to a request total less than ten pages.
The Public Records Officer may also waive the charges when the
expenses of processing the payment exceed the cost of providing copies
(estimated at $5).