Dear Resource Desk: My tenant got a job in another state and wants to terminate their lease early – it doesn’t expire until March 31, 2020. What are my options?
This is a pretty common scenario, and the answer is generally the same for most situations where a tenant is terminating early, regardless of circumstance (although there are some exceptions, such as military orders). If you’ve not written a specific “early termination clause” in to your lease (the RHAWA lease does not specify one), you have four basic options which you could consider.
Formal legal advice and review is recommended prior to selection and use of this information. RHAWA does not represent your selection or execution of this information as appropriate for your specific circumstance. The material contained and represented herein, although obtained from reliable sources, is not considered legal advice or to be used as a substitution for legal counsel.
While many homeowners are set to benefit from legislation which revises how excise taxes are charged for real estate transactions, the new, graduated rates will actually bring in millions more in revenue to the state due to their impacts on commercial and rental property. Washington’s current excise tax is a flat 1.28% everywhere in the state. On January 1, state excise tax moves to the following scale:
A ballot initiative which would repeal the REET tax increases, and other tax increases enacted by the legislature in 2019, is currently out in the field and gathering signatures. Initiative 1648 would also require that new taxes enacted by the legislature face term limits unless ratified by the voters.
Unintended Consequences of Seattle City Council’s Proposed Changes to “Notice of Intent to Sell” Ordinance.
The Seattle City Council continues to propose new legislation and amend existing landlord-tenant laws under the premise of addressing housing affordability. At face value, the stated motivation by the City Council is noble; increasing the available supply of affordable housing is badly needed and generally a popular objective among residents of Seattle. However, much of the recent housing-related legislation serves to do just the opposite; instead, it reduces the available supply of affordable housing.
The Seattle City Council’s proposed amendments to the “Notice of Intent to Sell” ordinance is a perfect example of legislation that will do the opposite of the Council’s stated goal. The “Notice of Intent to Sell” ordinance, as it stands today, provides 60-day advanced notice of the owner’s intent to sell a property that has 5 units or more, with at least one unit that is deemed affordable to a household earning at or below 80% median income. The notice is to be submitted to the Seattle Office of Housing (OH) and Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) so that the City agencies have sufficient time to prepare an offer to purchase the property and maintain the unit(s) affordability. It should be noted that in 2017 (the last year Dupre + Scott provided comprehensive multi-family rental data) approximately 87 building sales qualified for the ordinance. Yet, since the implementation of the ordinance, neither Seattle OH nor SHA have provided an offer to purchase one of the buildings containing affordable units.
April 28 brought the 2019 legislative session to a close. After 105 days in session, lawmakers, staffers, and lobbyists alike were ready for sine die, and many in the housing industry were eager for a reprieve from the beating they took on the Hill this year. By the last day of session, the 2019 Legislature substantially amended key components of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA) pertaining to notice periods around rent increases, termination of tenancy under certain conditions, and unlawful detainer. Moreover, lawmakers enacted unprecedented changes to the legal eviction process in residential tenancies.
Rental housing advocates hit the ground running in early January opposing shoddily conceived bills sponsored by Representative Nicole Macri (D-43) and Senator Patty Kuderer (D-48). The “eviction reform” legislation dropped by Representative Macri (i.e. EHSB 1453) and Senator Kuderer (i.e. ESSB 5600) dramatically increase the pay or vacate notice period, automatically converting term leases into month-to-month tenancies, eliminating a rental owner’s ability to collect attorneys’ fees in eviction cases, or late fees in evictions, among other amendments. In conjunction with the eviction reform bills, Representative Macri and Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37) proposed bills to enact statewide “Just Cause” which would only allow a rental owner to terminate a tenancy outside of non-payment of rent or behavior for a specific group of reasons similar to Seattle’s Just Cause (e.g. sale of property, owner moving into property, etc.); otherwise, a tenant could remain in a unit in perpetuity, or until the tenant decided to leave the unit.
RHAWA and other industry advocates were successful in stopping “Just Cause” legislation and other onerous and ineffective policies in this year’s legislature. The two “Just Cause” bills that rental housing advocates killed this session include HB 1656 (sponsored by Representative Macri) and SB 5733 (sponsored by Senator Saldaña). If passed, “Just Cause” would have established a Seattle style statewide policy for legally allowable terminations of a month-to-month tenancy.
Washington is a beautiful state. The views are breathtaking and since it’s such a big state, there’s something for everyone, especially if you love the great outdoors.
Some of the most common reasons people move to the state are:
The housing options Washington state offers is what really seals the deal when it comes to deciding to move. People can find their dream home in a dream place easily.
What this means is that real estate investors can profit greatly from the area. With the median list price for homes in Washington being $524,970 and the average wage being $51,182, people are much more interested in renting over buying. This is especially true for new college graduates, which there are a lot of due to all the colleges and universities in the state. This isn’t to say that couples, families, and singles aren’t renting. Those populations are also interested in lower monthly costs than what owning a house would give them.
For these reasons, consider the following top 6 markets to invest in for real estate property.
Homeowners insurance is a savior in cases of unexpected perils that you and your house may encounter in many forms. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover perils that occur due to fire, abnormal weather and of course certain cases of water damage.
The clause – certain cases of water damage - is what confuses many homeowners. Before understanding what types of water damages are covered under homeowners insurance, let us see the possibilities of types of water damage that could happen to our homes.
In general, the following perils might come under water damage for a home:
Plumbing Coverage in Homeowner’s Insurance
While talking about inclusion of plumbing in the homeowners’ insurance policy, the key aspect that you have to keep in mind is – the break or damage that led to the plumbing work should only be sudden but is not a result of accumulation over a prolonged period of time.
The rental housing industry is faced with a broad political coalition that has been forming throughout the Puget Sound to pursue legislation that seeks to dramatically reform the landlord-tenant relationship. Many voters understand that the price of rent is high compared to wages in urban areas, and while the amount of actual evictions remains very low, many policymakers in the Puget Sound-area adamantly believe reforming the legal process for removing a tenant from a rental property will best address housing displacement for low-income tenants.
While the chief policy goal of the eviction reform bills is to significantly increase the notification period for nonpayment of rent, the bills also contain many other changes to the eviction process and the landlord-tenant relationship. SB 5600 (sponsored by Dem. Senator Patty Kuderer from the 48th district in Kirkland), and HB 1453 (sponsored by Dem. Representative Nicole Macri from the 43rd district in Seattle) both contain policies that would limit the amount of attorney's fees and late fees allowed in an unlawful detainer judgment, create a definition of rent that separates recurring fees and utilities in the rental agreement from other fees and costs, require that landlords apply payments to rent first before other costs and fees, limit a landlord’s ability to bring an eviction for charges other than rent, and create new processes in eviction law for tenant’s to reinstate a tenancy through judicial discretion payment plans for nonpayment of rent.
RHAWA and other industry advocates continue to argue that these increased regulations will create further cost burdens on landlords who have not received rent owed, and those costs will be reflected in increased rents for tenants. And with all the intense focus on the eviction process by the advocates for SB 5600 / HB 1453, there has been little discussion about the deeper issue of rent burden that causes tenants to fall behind in rent.
Managing one property, although a bit challenging at first, is not that difficult once you get the hang of it. Managing multiple properties, on the other hand, is a whole different story. You’d have more tenants, things to check, rents to pick up, properties to invest in, and potential headaches to handle. However, with a bit of effort, managing multiple properties can become just as easy as managing only one – and here’s how.
Practice Good Organization
When you have more than one property to manage, being disorganized is not an option. From the inspection checklists to the rent payment confirmations, you will probably have quite a lot of paperwork. Plus, you can’t allow yourself to misplace any important documents, since that could lead to more than just financial consequences. So, come up with your own filing system – you can organize your papers by property, tenant’s name, month, or something else that makes sense to you. Just make sure to stick with the system.
Sponsored blog content provided by Colliers International’s Seattle Multifamily Team
Believe it or not, this isn’t a pitch to convince you to sell your apartment building.
Yes, we’re apartment brokers, and at the end of the day our job is to sell buildings. But our guiding principal is to help clients make the best decisions so they achieve the highest returns on their multifamily investments.
Over the last six years, Seattle has experienced a run of good news and rent growth, but we’re starting to see signs that the market cycle is shifting. If you’re planning to hold your building for the next five years, don’t even give market cycles a second thought — fundamentals remain strong.
But, if you might sell in the next three years, it's time to start thinking about strategy. While the market delivered record sales prices from 2014 - 2018, maximizing value today requires smart planning.
After selling 28 buildings in the last 12 months, we’ve cultivated three key insights that apartment owners can benefit from:
Tenants consider their cat or dog a furry family member, and most of them will pass on a property which isn't pet-friendly. That property might have everything they're looking for, with amazing amenities at an affordable price, but if Fido isn't allowed, they'll move on without a second thought. Compromise isn't an option.
Landlords have their own rationale, of course. Sharp claws and over-excitement cause considerable damage to hardwood flooring and drywall, and it only takes a week before the nice green lawn in front of a building is no longer nice or green. Maintenance expenses can exceed the profit accrued from a lenient policy.
Despite these difficulties, landlords don't have to turn away pet owners, and tenants don't have to give up their cat or dog. With a few adjustments to the lease, renovations to flooring and other changes, it's possible to reach an agreement where no one has to make a tough decision or inconvenient concession.
In this article, we'll walk landlords through the many ways they can minimize pet damage to preserve their properties while providing flexibility for tenants.