Today, we are talking about the residential Landlord-Tenant Act in Washington State. It’s a good idea to Google RCW59.18. That is the landlord’s bible in Washington State. There are a few specific things you need to know, which we will talk about in this blog. However, we could spend eight hours talking about this law, and we still wouldn’t be able to cover everything.
If you take a deposit on a property, there are a couple of things you have to do. You are required to hold it in a trust account or if you’re an individual landlord, in a separate account. You cannot touch that money; it belongs to the tenant. You cannot use the money or access it until the tenant moves out, when you give it back or use it for unpaid rent or damages. To legally hold a deposit in Washington, you need to have a written move in condition report.
If you want to serve a Three Day Pay or Vacate Notice because someone hasn’t paid rent, you have to attempt to deliver it in person. Go to the property and see if you can hand-deliver it. If you’re unable to find anyone there, you can mail the notice and physically post it on the property. We recommend you take a date and time stamp photo of you posting that notice at the property. You don’t have to send the notice by certified or registered mail, but you do need to mail it within the county that the property is located. Here in Spokane we also manage properties in Nine Mile Falls and the Suncrest area. That’s Stevens County, so we have to mail notices from there.
Repairs in different situations require specific timeframes. Make sure you understand your duties, and what you need to repair. It’s also important to be aware of the tenant remedies too.
Lease or rental agreements can be up to 12 months long. If your lease term is going to be anything longer, you need to have it notarized. So if you’re doing a two year lease, you’ll need a notary. There’s a lot to talk about when we’re discussing this law. If you have any questions about it, please contact us at Madison Real Estate and Property Management.