Washington State Landlord Tenant Law

Washington State Landlord Tenant Law LandLordStation.com

LandLordStation.com offers a variety of information pertaining to Washington State landlord tenant law. Washington State tenant laws have some unique features that apply only in the state of Washington. The Washington State legislature has made the Washington state rental laws available to both tenants and landlords on their website. These laws were enacted to clarify the laws pertaining to business enacted by, and between, residential landlords and tenants to protect the rights of each party.

The landlord tenant laws Washington State imposes cover residential occupancy of real estate, but do not cover residency in institutions. The definition of an institution includes, but is not limited to, a hospital, nursing home, correctional facility or monastery. Another exception to these laws includes residence in a hotel, or other transient lodging, whose operation is defined in the Revised Code of Washington, hereinafter referred to as "RCW" 19.48.010. There are a few other exceptions that are also set in this law.

Landlord duties are stated in the Washington landlord tenant law, RCW 59.18.060 and include some provisions that pertain only to Washington State law. These provisions must be given to the tenant, by his or her landlord, in writing via a notice form, which must be signed by the landlord or the landlord's authorized agent.

The written notice must disclose, but is not limited to, the following:

1) Written notice to all tenants disclosing fire safety and protection information including the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the smoke detection device and penalties for failure to comply. If the residential property has more than one tenant (for example, a duplex or apartment building), the notice must contain the following information:

- Whether a required smoke detection device is hard-wired or battery operated

- Whether the building has a fire sprinkler system

- Whether the building has a fire alarm system

- Whether the building has a smoking policy and what that policy is

- Whether the building has an emergency notification plan for the occupants and what that plan is (a copy of this plan should be provided to the tenants)

- Whether the building has an emergency relocation plan and/or an emergency evacuation plan (a copy of this plan should be provided to the tenants)

2) The landlord must provide in writing to the tenants information (which is approved or provided by the Department of Health) about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold.

3) The landlord must provide tenants with written receipts for payment made by a tenant in cash and provide, upon request of the tenant, a written receipt for any payments made by the tenant in a form other than cash.

4) The landlord must provide tenants with a copy of the written rental agreement and, upon request by the tenant, provide one free replacement copy during the tenancy.

If the landlord fails to perform the required duties under RCW 59.18.060, or by the rental agreement, the landlord will have 72 hours from the time of notification by the tenant to remedy the problem. These are representative landlord obligations, but this does not include the entire list of landlord obligations. LandLordStation.com recommends that all parties of a residential lease agreement obtain legal counsel if there is a need for clarification or compliance.

Tenant duties are stated in the Washington landlord tenant law, RCW 59.18.130, and include some provisions that pertain to Washington State law. Those include, but are not limited to, the following items:

1) Each tenant shall pay the rental amount at the time it is due and in the amount provided for in the rental and comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by all municipal, county, and state codes, statutes, ordinances, and regulations.

2) Tenant must keep the part of the premises he occupies in a clean and sanitary condition.

3) Tenant must not intentionally or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove any part of the structure or dwelling or permit anyone else from doing so. Violations may be prosecuted under 9A48 RCW.

4) Tenant must not engage in drug-related activity as defined in 69.41, 69.50 or 69.52 of RCW.

5) Tenant must maintain smoke detection devices in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

6) Tenant must not engage in any illegal activity on the premises, including but not limited to, gang related activity.

7) Upon termination and vacation of the premises, tenant must restore premises to their initial condition, except for reasonable wear and tear.

These are representative tenant obligations, but it does not include the entire list of tenant obligations. LandLordStation.com recommends that all parties to a residential lease agreement obtain legal counsel if there is a need for clarification or compliance.

The Washington State Fair Tenant Screening Act went into effect on June 7, 2012. Washington State law now requires landlords to disclose to a prospective tenant the criteria used to make a rental decision. If a landlord requires a tenant to pay more rent or to have a higher deposit as a result of the information obtained while searching a tenant’s background information, the tenant, under this act, has a right to know what information prompted punitive actions. Under the provisions of this act, landlords are required to disclose what type of information is included in a tenant screening report, and what criteria could result in the denial of an application. The landlord also is required to share the name and address of the screening agency, so tenants know where to go to correct any erroneous information in a report. The provisions of the Washington State Fair Tenant Screening Act only apply when landlords accept application payments for screening services from the prospective tenant.

The above information is meant to give landlords and tenants in the state of Washington a better understanding of the Washington State landlord tenant law. We always recommend that you consult an attorney before you enter into any legal agreement.

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