State and federal laws govern rent and housing rules. These are meant to settle any dispute that may arise between the landlord and the tenant. They also clarify the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant. Before you sign a Washington residential lease agreement, take some time out to know about these.
1 – Denial on Certain Grounds
A landlord in Washington can’t deny a potential tenant on the grounds of race, religion or creed, the nation of origin, sex or gender, familial status, or disability status. The tenants have been given the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and are known as the Fair Housing Act. Tenants should be aware that the landlord can’t discriminate on these grounds. Still, if the potential tenant has bad credit or criminal history or has suffered prior evictions, he may deny the application.
2 – Security Deposits
• The landlord can only collect the security deposit if he can present a signed move-in checklist that details the property’s condition when the tenant takes control of the property. It should contain the details of existing damages, furniture, and appliances. The checklist has to be signed by both landlord and the tenant.
• The landlord must provide security deposit receipt. It should be maintained in the escrow account. Its details have to be provided to the tenant.
• Any interest on the security deposit can be kept by landlord.
• The landlord has 21-days from the end date of the lease to return the security deposit.
• The landlord pay for the damages from the security deposit. However, he must provide the tenant with an itemized list of damages.
• If the landlord fails to comply with laws, the tenant can charge the landlord for court costs and attorney fees besides collecting the security deposit.
3 – Rent Due
Washington has rules clarifying when the rent is due. The landlord and tenant should agree and mention the same in the lease. If the landlord wants to increase the rent, they must provide the tenant 30-day notice if the notice is month to month. There are no rules when the lease has fixed end dates. The landlord should put it in the agreement after discussing it with the tenant.
No statutes are governing the late fees or grace periods. Landlords should advise their policies in the lease agreement. The landlord can detail their policies in the lease agreement. The landlord may also charge a USD 40 for a bounced check.
4 – Habitable Residence
As per the implied warranty of habitability in Washington, the residential rental property must provide the tenant’s necessities. It includes heat, running water, leakage-free plumbing, electricity, and disposal of garbage. It also means that the property is kept safe from the elements. If the landlord fails to provide these basic needs, the tenant can withhold rent until the problems are fixed. The tenant must also notify the government authorities and is obligated to hold the rent in the escrow account. Alternatively, the tenant can also choose to get the damage fixed on their own and deduct the rent. However, such cost should not exceed two months of rent.
5 – Termination of Lease
When the lease has a fixed end date, neither landlord nor the tenant has to notice terminating the lease agreement. However, if the lease is a month-on-month lease, either party can terminate the lease on 20-days’ notice.
The landlord should give the tenant two-day notice before entering the property, one-day notice for showing it to another potential tenant. No notice is required during an emergency. A Washington residential lease agreement takes care of these issues and many others. It can be created at any leading legal forms site.