Significant Changes to WA's Landlord-Tenant Law Impact RHAWA Forms

Posted By: Sean Martin Government , Law ,

The passage of SB 5600, HB 1138, HB 1440, and HB 1462 made permanent changes to Washington State's Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) and will require edits to specific RHAWA forms. Please see below how these bills will impact the following RHAWA forms. RHAWA has made all-new Lease Agreements available as of May 31, and the remaining forms will be made available when the new laws take effect on July 28, 2019.

3-Day Pay or Vacate Notice
  • SB 5600 increases the “3 day” pay or vacate notices to 14 days so that tenants will have an extended time-frame to come up with rent and you will have to wait two weeks to begin the eviction process.
  • The bill also provided a mandatory form that will be available in multiple languages and includes resource information for the tenant.
All Rental Agreements
  • SB 5600 changes pay or vacate time-frame
  • It also defines rent to include all recurring charges. Several changes were made to the RHAWA rental agreement to reflect this new definition.
  • The bill also requires that all payments must be applied to rent, first. This change will need to be made in all but the Seattle agreement, which already contains this rule.
Military Clause Addendum
  • HB 1138 changes and clarifies the conditions where Service Members can terminate rental agreements early or upon less than the required 20 day notice.
  • Required notice for Service Member to terminate a term lease changes from “7 days after receiving orders” to “at least 20 days.”
Rent / Fee Increase Notice
  • HB 1440 will increase the time-frame to raise rent to 60 days no matter how small or large the increase. The law provides a narrow exception that only impacts federal housing.
  • This notice is required for any increase to base rent as well as other recurring fees, which are now defined as rent.
Rent / Fee Increase Notice (Seattle and Tacoma)
  • Alternate versions of the notice for local jurisdictions will be deleted as they are superseded by the new state law which is equally or more restrictive.
Termination of Tenancy – 120 Days  |  NEW FORM
  • HB 1462 requires a 120-day notification to terminate any tenancy due to demolition, substantial renovation requiring a permit or change of use (e.g., senior care home, student housing, short term rental, etc.) of any rental property.
  • Exception: If the owner or immediate family member wants to make it their primary residence, this is not considered change of use and 20-day termination notice is acceptable.
Termination of Tenancy – 20 Days
  • Revised to note the requirement for 120 days' notice in case of demo, rehab or change of use.
Termination of Tenancy (Seattle Only)
  • Revised to change 90 day notice for demolition, rehab, or change of use to 120 days.
Termination of Tenancy (Tacoma Only)
  • This version of the notice will be deleted as it is superseded by the new state law which is equally or more restrictive.