Rent increased? Lease renewal more than you thought? Here are your rights as a WA tenant

·2 min read

Rental prices are increasing since there are no longer pandemic restrictions on raising rates.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an eviction moratorium did not allow landlords in Washington state to raise rent prices, but this restriction was lifted in June 2021. Since then, rental prices have continued to rise across Washington state.

Knowing your rights as a tenant is extremely important to avoid costly situations or paying higher rent than you legally should. Cities in Washington may have varying laws than Washington state’s, so tenants can visit their city’s website for more information.

The Northwest Justice Project has created to help Washington citizens better understand laws, but also to help tenants and landlords alike know their legal rights and obligations of renting.

Washington tenant rights

Your landlord is allowed to raise your rent, but only if they send you a notice at least 60 days before the increase. The notice must be written on paper and cannot be an email, text or call. If a rent increase warning comes less than 60 days before the increase, talk to a lawyer immediately.

Your landlord cannot raise your rent during a rental contract. They can only raise the rent after the contract is up, but are still required to give a notice of rent increase 60 days before.

There is no rent control in Washington state, so landlords can raise your rent at their discretion.

If your landlord increased your rent but you cannot afford it, there are a few things you can do. You can ask your landlord to change the date your rent is due. If you believe your landlord is increasing your rent to force you to move out, you can talk to a lawyer.

A landlord can change terms in the tenancy, but only after giving written notice of the change 30 days in advance.

Your landlord is not allowed to enter your apartment without at least one day’s notice, lock you out of your apartment, or take your personal belongings.

Your landlord can only shut off your utilities to make repairs.

If your landlord is selling the property you are renting and needs you to move out, they must give you a 90-day written notice.

Your landlord cannot retaliate against you in, such as increasing rent prices or reducing services. If you believe your landlord is retaliating against a complaint or stating your rights, talk to a lawyer.

After you move out, your landlord must give your deposit back within 21 days, or a letter stating why they are keeping any of it.

A landlord must have a “good” and “legal” reason to ask you to move out or end a rental agreement.