Washington Landlord Tenant Rights

Washington state law outlines responsibilities for both landlords and tenants. Before you enter into a lease, take a look at our quick Washington Landlord Tenant Rights fact sheet.

Landlord Responsibilities

Washington landlords have certain responsibilities under state law. These include the duty to address, provide, or maintain the following:

  • Structural components
  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Hot/cold water

Unless the issue is an emergency that affects habitability, the landlord has 10 days to address it. If the issue isn’t resolved within 10 days, the tenant can hire a contractor to make the repairs and deduct the cost from any rent due. The landlord is prohibited from engaging in retaliatory conduct.

Tenant Responsibilities

Tenants also have responsibilities to their landlords. These include:

  • Paying rent on time
  • Not damaging or destroying any part of the property
  • Maintain the rental in a clean and sanitary condition
  • Remove garbage from unit in a timely manner
  • Use all fixtures and appliances in a reasonable manner
  • Keep the smoke detector in working order
  • Refrain from nuisances and common waste
  • Not engage in illegal activity on the premises

Security Deposit

Washington law does not limit the amount of the security deposit. The landlord has 14 days to return the security deposit if there aren’t deductions, and 21 days if deductions are necessary. If the landlord fails to return the security deposit within the allotted time, they will be held responsible for up to twice the amount of the deposit.

Rent and Fees

Landlords are free to charge whatever they wish for rent and fees. They can raise rent for any reason with a 30-day notice.

Evictions

Landlords can evict tenants on the following grounds:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Violation of lease terms

Tenants can legally end their lease early in the following circumstances:

  • There is an early termination clause in the lease
  • Active military duty
  • Documented habitability issue
  • Landlord harassment
  • Domestic violence

Lease Termination Notice

If the grounds for eviction are nonpayment of rent, the landlord is required to issue a 14-day notice. If the tenant has violated their lease terms, the landlord should issue a 10-day notice to allow them to comply. If the violation is one that substantially affects the health or safety of the tenant or others, the landlord must give a 30-day notice to allow the tenant to fix the issue. If the grounds for eviction is illegal acts, no notice is necessary.

Tenants who wish to end their lease may do so with notice. Month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, and annual tenants are required to issue a 20-day notice.

Relevant State Agencies

Washington Department of Housing and Urban Development

City-Specific Links

Seattle:

Water

Electric

Gas

Spokane:

Water

Electric

Gas

Tacoma:

Water

Electric

Gas

Official Rules and Regulations

Residential Landlord Tenant Act