Overview of Landlord-Tenant Laws in Washington

Landlords and tenants are normally equipped to handle many legal questions and problems without a lawyer after they have a firm knowledge of state laws. 

We are offering an overview of important landlord-tenant laws and showcase the most common issues that come up. 

Required Landlord Disclosures in Washington

As specified under Washington State law, landlords must divulge specific information to tenants – usually in the lease or rental agreement – such as whether any fees are refundable and the identity of anyone authorized to act on the landlord’s behalf, and provide educational materials on mold, etc.
For a complete list, view Washington Required Landlord Disclosures 

Washington Security Deposit Limit and Return

Washington State law does not place limits for how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit. However, it does put constraints on when it must be returned – within 14 days after a tenant moves – and establishes other restrictions for deposits.  

View Washington Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines for more details on the subject. 

Small Claims Lawsuits in Washington 

Tenants are allowed to sue landlords in small claims court for the return of their deposit, up to $5,000.  

View Filing a Security Deposit Lawsuit in Washington Small Claims Court for advice for tenants filing suit.  Landlords defending a security deposit lawsuit should check out Washington Landlord’s Guide to Security Deposit Disputes in Small Claims Court

Washington Late Fees and Other Rent Rules

State law regulates several rent-related issues, and they include late and bounced-check fees, the notice amount – a minimum of 30 days in Washington – landlords must give tenants to raise the rent and how much time – three days in Washington – a tenant has to pay rent or move before a landlord can file for eviction. 

For details, view Washington Termination for Nonpayment of Rent and Other Rent Rules

Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent in Washington

Tenants may withhold rent or exercise the right to “repair and deduct” if a landlord does not take care of important repairs, such as a broken heater. 

For details, view Washington Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent or “Repair and Deduct”

Washington Termination and Eviction Rules

State laws define when and how a landlord can terminate a tenancy. For example, a landlord may give a Washington holdover tenant an unconditional quit notice that provides the tenant with three days to move out before the landlord can file for eviction. 

See State Laws on Unconditional Quit Terminations and State Laws on Termination for Violation of Lease for details on these types of termination notices in Washington. 

Landlord Access to Rental Property, Tenant Protection Against Retaliation, and Other Washington State Laws

Washington landlords are required to provide two days’ notice of entry into a tenant’s dwelling, or one day’s notice to show the property to actual or prospective tenants or buyers.

(View restrictions on landlord’s right to access rental property).

Tenant protections against landlord retaliation for tenant exercising a legal right, such as complaining about an unsafe living condition.
View Washington State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation for details. 

Special protections for tenants who are victims of domestic violence
View Washington State Laws Affecting Tenants in Domestic Violence Situations.

Procedures for how landlords are required to handle abandoned property left behind by tenants.

Local Ordinances Affecting Washington Landlords and Tenants

Cities and counties typically approve local ordinances, like health and safety standards, noise and nuisance regulations, and antidiscrimination rules that affect landlords and tenants. Many municipalities have websites. 

State and Local Government on the Net and Municode are good sources for finding local governments online.

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Jerry D. Abrams Company, Inc. is one of the largest full-service property management companies in the Tri-Cities, currently managing a large portfolio of residential homes, 750,000 square feet of office, medical, and retail space, and leasing approximately 75,000 commercial square feet per year.

We aggressively work toward reducing operating expenses and increasing cash flow for our clients.  Our objectives include performance excellence, professionalism, communication, responsive/personal service, and attention to detail.