Washington Residential Lease
Washington Residential Lease
Make Unlimited Leases for 1 Year
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Washington landlord? Sign a residential lease or month-to-month rental agreement
If you’re a Washington landlord, you need leases and rental agreements that are tailored to Washington law. And, if your property is in Seattle, you’ll need to comply with Seattle’s rental ordinance. With this form, you can easily create a residential fixed-term lease or a month-to-month rental agreement that contains all the terms you need to comply with all legal requirements.
This easy-to-use, plain-English legal form comes with detailed clause-by-clause instructions-- all you have to do is supply the required information. You’ll specify who can live on the property, the amount of rent and how it's to be paid, how large a security deposit you’re collecting, and how it will be used and returned. Your rental document will also explain your rights to enter the rental and the tenant's and landlord's upkeep responsibilities. This product includes links to helpful sites and to required attachments to Washington leases (concerning mold and fire safety).
Where can I find any relevant local laws?
In some cities or counties, local ordinances or laws require certain language or information to be in a lease or rental agreement. We cannot list local requirements for every locality in Washington (though we do so for those properties subject to Seattle ordinances), so to be extra careful, take a moment to find out whether local laws affect your lease.
Fortunately, many cities and counties have placed their local laws online. To find out whether your local government has done so, go to www.statelocalgov.net, choose Washington, and look for your county and/or city. Or simply call your local city or county attorney and ask whether residential rentals are covered by local ordinances and, if so, where you can obtain a copy. If local law varies from state law -- by imposing a different interest requirement for security deposits, for example -- be sure to follow the local rule.
What are the rules for Seattle landlords?
The city of Seattle has several landlord-tenant ordinances that apply to rentals within the city. Among other issues, they govern permissible rent increases and impose "just cause" eviction protection.
- Just cause eviction law. Seattle Municipal Code Section 22.206.160.
- Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance. Seattle Municipal Code Sections 7.24.010 to 7.24.100. This ordinance covers various obligations.
- Third Party Billing Regulation. Seattle Municipal Code Sections 7.25 and following. This law regulates how landlords may bill tenants for their portion of utility costs initially paid by the landlord.
This product gives you Seattle-specific language for those clauses that require it, and alerts you to necessary attachments (it also tells you how to find them online). In the instructions for particular clauses, Seattle landlords will be alerted to Seattle-specific rules -- look for the heading, "Seattle Rule," in the instructions and help text. The signing instructions will remind you to attach the legal summaries.
Summaries of the law. The city of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development has prepared the summary of landlord-tenant law that Seattle landlords must give tenants. The Information for Tenants brochure can be downloaded from their site and printed as a pdf.
How can I find helpful resources for Washington landlords?
Washington's Attorney General supplies many helpful links for landlords and tenants on its Residential Landlord-Tenant Resources and Links page.
Seattle landlords should access the legal summary described just above.
Are you making a lease or a month-to-month rental agreement?
This rental form allows you to create either a fixed-term lease or a rental agreement.
- A lease runs from one specific date to another, and typically lasts for a year. The lease expires on its own; neither landlord nor tenant need give notice. The terms of the lease cannot be modified midlease unless both parties agree.
- A month-to-month rental agreement self-renews every month, unless landlord or tenant gives the required amount of notice. Landlords may modify the terms of the agreement using the same notice period.
Are you renewing an existing lease you made with Nolo?
If you've made a lease using this platform and have an existing account, you can renew the lease by duplicating the old lease and entering any changed information. For example, make sure the contact information for you or the manager is current. (To duplicate your form, open the original lease and click "Duplicate" in the blue menu bar.)
If you want to apply the security deposit you collected originally to the renewed lease, you'll have an opportunity to do so. You can either roll-over the amount you have on hand, or add to it (within the limits of the law, of course). If you're paying interest on deposits, don't forget to calculate interest based on the new, higher amount if you've increased the deposit.
How do I establish a legal occupancy policy for this rental?
In Washington, an occupancy policy of two persons per bedroom is presumed reasonable. Depending on the circumstances, however, such a policy may be challenged, particularly if the rooms are unusually large or when an occupant is a small child or infant. Applying a policy of fewer than two persons per bedroom may constitute discrimination against families.
Be sure to apply your occupancy policy consistently and without regard to your personal preferences.
What does "joint and several liability" mean?
Your rental document advises multiple tenants that each tenant will be responsible for paying rent and abiding by all the terms of the agreement. (If you're renting to a single tenant now, it puts this tenant on notice that tenants who join the lease later will also be subject to this rule.) The rule means that you can legally seek the entire rent from any one of the tenants should the others skip out or be unable to pay. It also gives you the right to evict all of the tenants even if just one has broken the terms of the lease.
What must I tell tenants about fire protection at the rental?
At the time the lease or rental agreement is signed, landlords must provide fire protection and safety information, including whether the building has a smoking policy, an emergency notification plan, or an evacuation plan. You must also inform the tenant of its responsibility to maintain the smoke detection device in proper working condition, and the penalties for failing to do so (a fine of up to $200). The disclosure requirements are quite detailed; read the statute to learn the specifics. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. Sections 59.18.060(12)(a) and 43.44.110.) The Signing Instructions will remind you of this requirement.
How do I give tenants legally-required information about mold?
At the time the lease or rental agreement is signed, Washington landlords must notify tenants about the health hazards of indoor mold, and give them information on ways to control mold growth in their units. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. Section 59.18.060.) You may fulfill this duty by giving tenants copies of the state’s Department of Health FAQs on mold (Mold), or by giving them a guide prepared by the EPA (Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and your Home—EPA). You can order free copies of the latter through the EPA website. We’ll remind you about this in the Signing Instructions.
How do I supply legally-required lead-hazard documentation?
With some exceptions (see below), all landlords must complete the federally required Lead-Paint and Lead-Paint Hazards Disclosure form and give it to prospective tenants. Your lease includes a clause in which landlords who are not exempt from this requirement state that they have complied with the rule (exemptions are explained in the Help sections of the clause). You can download the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards from the EPA website. Fill it out by hand. Be sure to keep a copy for your records.
If you are not exempt, you will also need to give your tenant a copy of the EPA pamphlet Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home, available at the EPA website.
What rentals are exempt from lead-hazard disclosures?
Properties that were built before 1978 are exempt from the lead-hazard disclosure rules if they are:
- certified as lead-free by a state-accredited inspector
- lofts, efficiencies, studios, and other "zero-bedroom" units
- vacation rentals of 100 days or less
- a single room rented in a residential home
- designed for persons with disabilities (unless any child younger than six years old resides there or is expected to), or
- retirement communities where one tenant is at least 62 years old (unless any child younger than six years old resides there or is expected to).