Washington State has passed many changes to the Landlord-Tenant Act, effective June 11, 2020. Please see the changes reflected on LeaseRunner's Washington State Lease Agreement.
Payment of Rent
The 2019 Washington State lease specified that the rent due date is the first business day of the month, and the payment is considered late after the fifth day of the month. The 2020 law added a provision that the tenant may propose that the due date be altered to a different day of the month. It also states that the landlord shall agree if this proposal was submitted in writing, and if the tenant's primary income is a regular, monthly source of governmental assistance that is not received until after the original due date. The proposed due date cannot be more than five days after the original due date.
The 2020 law introduced the option of a cash rent payment refusal by the landlord. A receipt must be provided if such payment is accepted.
Application of Payments
In 2020, the law designates the application of the rent payment to go toward rent before applying any payment toward late payments, damages, legal costs, or other fees, including attorney fees.
At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord has provided a payment plan for any nonrefundable fees and deposits and the tenant defaults to pay, the landlord may treat it as rent payment owing.
The 2020 law added the option for a tenant to pay the security deposit, any nonrefundable fees, and last month’s rent in installments. The tenant must submit this request in writing. The landlord is not required to permit a tenant to pay in installments if the total amount of the deposits and nonrefundable fees do not exceed 25 percent of the first full month's rent and if payment of the last month's rent is not required at the inception of the tenancy.
Two or Three Equal Payments
In the lease where a tenancy lasts three months or longer, the tenant may elect to pay any deposits, non-refundable fees, and last month’s rent in three consecutive and equal monthly installments when the tenancy begins. In any other cases, the tenant can pay these deposits and fees in two equal consecutive installments.
A landlord cannot charge any fees, interest, etc. if the tenant chooses to pay the above mentioned fees and deposits in installments. Installment payments are due on the same day the rent is due. All installment schedules must be in writing and signed by landlord and tenant.
Notice to Quit and Holdover
Notice by Tenant
In 2020, a tenant may terminate a month-to-month tenancy by providing 20 days’ written notice to the landlord. This notice is shortened from 30 days’ notice in 2019. An important distinction is made for tenants involved in the armed forces. If the tenant or tenant’s spouse or dependent is a member of the armed forces, the tenant may terminate a tenancy with less than 20 day’s written notice if tenant receives permanent change of station or deployment orders that do not allow for a 20 day written notice.
Notice to quit by landlord stays the same: 30 days.
Landlord has to provide a minimum of 60 days’ prior written notice of an increase in the rent amount to each tenant affected in the new lease term.
In the event a landlord plans to demolish or rehabilitate the property, landlord should give tenant 120 days’ notice.
Notice And Timing of Repairs
The timing of all notices to complete repairs on the property remains the same as in 2019, but some new provisions have been added regarding repairs.
Landlord’s Failure to Remedy Defective Condition
After providing the requisite written notice to the landlord regarding a defective condition, if the landlord fails to remedy the defective condition within reasonable time, tenant may:
- Terminate the lease agreement and vacate upon written notice to the landlord;
- bring an action to court or arbitration, if agreed; or
- pursue other remedies available under the Landlord-Tenant Act.
Landlord’s Failure to Carry Out Duties
If, at any time during the tenancy, the landlord fails to carry out any duties imposed by law, and notice of defects is given to landlord, tenant may mail or deliver in person to the landlord or property manager an estimate of work to be performed. If locks are replaced as part of work being done, tenant should promptly provide landlord with new keys.
If the landlord fails to remedy the issue after a notice and estimate has been provided within 10 days, the cost of repairs does not exceed one month’s rent, and the condition does not require a licensed professional, the tenant can conduct repairs himself and deduct the cost from the monthly rent.
After the landlord was able to inspect the repairs, tenant can deduct the cost from the next rent payment.
This section cannot create employer/employee relationship between landlord and tenant, create liability, and does not constitute tenant as an agent of a landlord.
A few additional stipulations to note:
- Any repair work should comply with any applicable code, statute, ordinance and regulations.
- A landlord whose property is damaged due to negligence by the tenant can recover loses in an action against the tenant.
- A tenant can agree with landlord to make repairs himself, but the landlord is still responsible for completing any repairs.
Landlord to Give Notice if Tenant Fails to Carry Out Duties
If the tenant fails to follow through on her responsibilities at any time during the tenancy, the landlord can provide tenant written notice describing such failure, which should specify the nature of the failure.
Landlord’s Remedies if Tenant Fails to Remedy Defective Condition
If the tenant fails to remedy the defective condition after a written notice, the landlord can bring an action against tenant to a court or arbitration.
Tenant’s Failure to Comply with Duties
If the landlord learns about a breach by the tenant, landlord may immediately give notice to tenant to remedy the nonconformance. This notice expires after 60 days unless landlord pursues any remedy under the Landlord-Tenant Act.
Rules, Obligations, Restrictions
Tenant should comply with the rules of the property specified in the lease agreement. In the event of a lease renewal, new rules can be introduced with a 30 days' written notice and after completion of the original agreement term or sooner, upon mutual consent.