Landlord-Tenant Laws And Regulations You Should Keep In Mind

October 20, 2021 0 comment

Written by: Eric Davis

A photo that shows Landlord-Tenant book.

Every landlord, investor, and Seattle apartment manager desires to give their residents safe housing. Different new policies, regulations on notices like payment or vacate notices, and funding are set through the years. Various state, government, and local laws serve as landlords’ guides and protect tenants in Seattle. There are many laws set up to guarantee rental guidelines are being met, and they can be found in the Seattle Municipal Code [1] and Washington State Legislature [2].

Landlord-tenant law is progressing and developing faster. Understanding and having a method set up to keep up with the updates will help you familiarize yourself with these laws. Landlords and tenants should have the basic knowledge of these policies to handle legal inquiries and issues without going through the legal process that may be time-consuming and expensive for everyone involved. The Washington Residential Landlord-Tenant Act [3] administers the Landlord-Tenant relations. In some areas of territory, local officials have established more stringent laws aiming directly at problems that impact the community. Seattle especially has a bunch of rules that vary from the State laws. While a portion of the statutes is being disputed, they remain the city’s law. They also have definite rental leasing guidelines that both landlord and tenants should comply with.

Here are the most common laws one should always remember.

1. Council Bill 119985 – an approved council bill that requires a 180 days’ notice of rent increases. Under this, landlords are to provide 60 days to 180 days before increasing the current house cost.

2. Council Bill 120173 – requires landlords to pay much higher amounts for tenants that choose to move out after receiving a rent hike of 10% or more. This bill is separate from the current Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance (TRAO) [4].

3. Council Bill 120046 (School-Year Eviction)- a law that protects employees and students against eviction happening during the school year. This applies to certain evictions of children, families, and educators. The bill was made to ensure the stability of education for children.

4. Council Bill 120077 – also known as “Sound at Home”. The bill would prevent evictions for non-payment of the lease during the city’s COVID-19 civil crisis—this help tenants who experienced any financial difficulty that may have them fall behind their rent.

5. Council Bill 120090 – this mandate gives the right to tenants for a first refusal to remain or leave their home when there is an increase in the rent. The bill would obligate landlords to propose new leases to tenants 60 to 90 days prior to their current contracts expiring and before seeking a new renter unless there are different reasons for the tenants to be evicted.

6. Executive Order 2021-07 (Extension of Eviction Moratorium) – expanding the bans for private and commercial removals through January 15, 2022. This will further adjust extra COVID-related supports estimates that relate to utility assistance. The bill will additionally lengthen several suspensions set up to restrict the financial effect of the pandemic on Seattle renters and small businesses.

7. Council Bill 119726 (Winter Eviction) – a law that prohibits eviction during the winter months with the exemptions for criminal and dangerous activities and other valid reasons for removal.

A photo showing an eviction notice.

8. Council Bill 118817 – a law that requires landlords to limit the charge of move-in fees and give tenants the option to pay it in installments. This rule will restrict the overall costs of a security deposit and any nonrefundable charges amounting to not over the first month’s lease. Additionally, the law will limit pet damage deposits to 25 percent of the first month’s rent.

9. Council Bill 118755 (First-in-time rule)– a law obliges landlords to accept the first qualified tenant who applies. The property manager/owner will choose applications based on a first-come, first-serve principle. There will be a few exemptions, such as when renting to particularly vulnerable people, such as domestic violence survivors.

10. Council Bill 119606 – a law that provides tenants the right to add a roommate to the current rental lease. The tenant must notify the landlord within 30 days of adding someone to their household. Under the law, tenants can add to their home the following individuals:

  • Immediate family (subject to occupancy rules)
  • One non-immediate family roommate (subject to occupancy rules)
  • The immediate family of the one additional non-immediate family roommate (subject to occupancy rules)

The Seattle City Council proposes new rules and revised existing landlord-tenant laws to address housing affordability. Being a landlord in Seattle, Washington, is a rewarding and fulfilling achievement though it accompanies many obligations. Landlords need to be up to date on rental housing market developments to cater to future renters properly. It is also essential to have a balance between satisfying your renters, keeping the property attractive to the market, and ensuring incomes come in to protect your real estate business.

A summary video of Washington’s landlord-tenant’s laws.

While it is true that laws are confusing and difficult to comprehend, it is a part of our responsibility to abide by them fully. Set aside some effort to get to know landlord-tenant laws to make sure you know your duties and obligations as a landlord. Davis Property Management can help you handle difficult circumstances with your residents, despite your portfolio’s size. We seek to innovate and improve the tenant experience while at the same time, ensuring a long-term profitable solution for our owners. Call us today at 425-658-7471 or send us an email at

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