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Washington Landlord Tenant Law

Washington Landlord Tenant Law

Washington Landlord Tenant Law: An Overview


If you’re a tenant or a landlord in Washington, it’s important to be familiar with the landlord tenant law for the state. This law regulates the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants, and it’s designed to protect the interests of both parties.

The Washington Tenant Landlord Act (RCW 59.18) lays down the rules that govern the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Washington. Generally, the landlord tenant law in Washington is geared towards ensuring that landlords provide safe, comfortable, and livable rental units to tenants while protecting the rights of landlords to get paid rent and to safeguard their property. This article will provide a detailed and interesting overview of Washington landlord tenant law that is up-to-date and uses wholly government resources.

The Tenant Selection Process

Before renting out a rental unit, landlords must adhere to certain rules concerning the tenant selection process. Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or marital status. Landlords are only allowed to turn away tenants based on objective, non-discriminatory criteria such as rental history, credit history, or income.

Landlords are also required to provide prospective tenants with a rental application which must contain a statement of the terms and conditions for application screening fees. Landlords are allowed to ask for a screening fee as long as it does not exceed the actual cost of the screening process.

Security Deposits

Landlords in Washington are permitted to collect a security deposit from the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy. The amount the landlord can collect may not be more than the equivalent of one month’s rent. The landlord must provide the tenant with a written receipt for the security deposit.

The landlord must also give the tenant a written statement detailing how the security deposit will be used if the tenant breaches the lease agreement. The statement must include the damages the landlord will claim, the estimated cost of each damage or repair, and a list of any deduction from the deposit that will be made by the landlord. The landlord must also provide the tenant with a written statement indicating the tenant’s rights to make repairs and be present during move-out inspection.

Rental Payments

In Washington, landlords are allowed to charge the tenant rent from the date that the rental agreement becomes effective. Rent must be paid according to the terms of the lease or rental agreement. Landlords can start the eviction process if the tenant fails to pay rent on time.

If the landlord wishes to raise the rent, they must provide the tenant with at least 30 days’ notice before the rental increase goes into effect. This notice must be in writing and delivered to the tenant in person or by mail.

Repairs and Maintenance

Washington landlords are required to provide tenants with a safe and habitable rental unit. This includes ensuring that the rental unit is free from dangerous and hazardous conditions that may pose a danger to the tenant’s health and safety. Landlords must make sure the rental unit is equipped with working smoke detectors, heaters, and plumbing systems that meet minimum safety requirements.

If the landlord fails to make necessary repairs and maintenance, the tenant has the right to request repairs in writing. The landlord must respond promptly to the tenant’s request and make a good faith effort to repair the problem within a reasonable time frame. If the landlord fails to respond or to make repairs, the tenant has several options that include:

– Withholding rent that is equivalent to the cost of the repairs and deducting it from the rent due
– Seeking an injunction to force the landlord to make repairs
– Terminating the rental agreement and vacating the rental unit

Eviction Procedures

In Washington, landlords are allowed to evict a tenant for several reasons including non-payment of rent, breach of the lease agreement, or engaging in behavior that poses a danger to other tenants in the rental property. However, landlords must follow proper procedures when evicting a tenant.

For example, a landlord must provide the tenant with written notice that specifies the grounds for eviction. The notice must also include a statement informing the tenant of their right to dispute the reasons for eviction and specify the time period within which the tenant must vacate the rental unit. The notice must be hand-delivered to the tenant or sent by certified mail.

If the tenant fails to vacate the rental unit, the landlord must file a lawsuit in court and obtain a court order to evict the tenant. The court order will describe the legal requirement for the tenant to vacate the rental unit. Only law enforcement officers or a court-appointed bailiff can physically remove a tenant from a rental unit. The eviction process cannot begin until the tenant has been given notice and the proper amount of time to vacate the rental unit.


The Washington Landlord Tenant Act regulates the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in Washington. It’s important to know your rights as a tenant or landlord, and to be familiar with the legal procedures involved, including tenant screening, security deposits, rental payments, maintenance and repairs, and eviction procedures. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of Washington landlord tenant law and other information crucial to understanding that law. Understanding the Washington landlord tenant law is essential for renting and owning rental property to ensure that both parties are protected in an event of a conflict.

What is Washington Landlord Tenant Law?

If you rent an apartment or a home, you are covered by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. The Washington Landlord Tenant Law states that the General’s Office is prohibited from serving as a private attorney in individual residential landlord-tenant complaints. Listed below are some of the most common questions associated with Washington Landlord Tenant law:

Washington Landlord Tenant Laws: Application Fees, Returned Payments and Late Fees

WA Landlord Tenant Law: Laws Associated with Application Fees

A landlord—according to Washington Landlord Tenant Law—may not charge an applicant more than the true cost of the background check. Landlords must provide receipts to the tenant for deposits or fees charged to hold a rental space. Moreover, landlords are required to provide a written description of the conditions under which the security deposit must be returned.

WA Landlord Tenant Law: Laws Associated with Late Fees

Washington Landlord Tenant Laws state that late fees should remain reasonable and elastic to the landlord’s actual expenses incurred

WA Landlord Tenant Law: Laws Associated with Returned Payments

WA Landlord Tenant Law states that with regards to returned payments, a payee is permitted to collect reasonable handling fees. If these fees are not satisfied within 15 days, a collection cost is not allowed to exceed $40 or face amount of the check, whichever is lower.

WA Landlord Tenant Law: Rent Increases and Types of Leases

WA Landlord Tenant Law: Monthly Rent Agreements: According to Washington Landlord Tenant Law, if the landlord wishes to change (i.e. raise rent) the provisions of a monthly lease agreement, the tenant must be sent a written notice within 30 days of the change. Said chances may only become effective at the beginning of the rental period. With regards to rent increases, Washington landlord tenant law does not place a limit on how much rent may increase or how frequently. That being said, Washington Landlord Tenant Law imposes a restriction on landlords which impedes them from raising rent as a retaliatory action against a tenant.

If the landlord wants to convert the property to a condo, the tenant must be provided a 90-day notice. If the renter has a traditional lease, changes cannot be made to the property unless both the tenant and landlord agree to the proposed alteration.

Washington Landlord Tenant Laws: Security Deposits

WA landlord tenant laws do not place any restrictions with regards to the maximum amount that may be collected as a security deposit. The landlord, according to WA landlord tenant law must provide an inspection checklist stating the condition of the dwelling along with the rental contract. The conditions under which a security deposit may be kept must be elucidated within the lease. Moreover, the landlord is required to place the security deposit in an escrow or trust account and provide the tenant with a receipt indicating the address and name of the financial institution.

Washington landlord tenant laws state that when a tenant moves out, the landlord must either mail or hand deliver the security deposit return, along with a written statement itemizing any deductions. This form must be delivered to the tenant within 14 days after the tenant moves. That being said, the 14 day period begins on the date the landlord notices that the tenant left the dwelling.

Washington Landlord Tenant Laws: Terminating a Washington Lease

Periodic leases may be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant when the resident is damaged or destroyed or any situation that deems the property uninhabitable. Tenants may seek release from rental agreements with the court when a landlord fails to adhere by the WA landlord tenant laws. Fixed term leases will terminate automatically on the last day of the lease; however, the tenant—assuming the landlord agrees—can opt to renew the lease when it runs out. At this time, Washington landlord tenant laws state that the landlord may raise the rent if the tenant does not live-in a rent-controlled property.

Washington Landlord Tenant Laws: Failure to Pay Rent

According to Washington Landlord Tenant Laws, a landlord may evict a tenant for failure to pay rent. That being said, before a complaint or summons for eviction can be filed, a 3 day notice to vacate or pay is required; when the 3-day notice is served, a court proceeding will commence. If, other violations are present (failure to adhere to the rental agreement) then a 10-day notice to vacate or comply is necessary. Multiple noise complaints, destruction of property, engaging in drug-related activities, or conducting illegal businesses requires a 3-day written notice.

WA Landlord Tenant Laws: How Long Does the Eviction Process Take?

As is common with any legal matter, timing issues will vary based on circumstances. In general; however, the eviction process will take approximately 4-5 weeks.