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New Seattle Renter's Handbook

Posted By: Denise Myers Seattle Laws ,

For several years, Seattle landlords have been required to provide renters with information about the laws that protect their rights as tenants and other information. Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection (SDCI) has published a completely overhauled version of this document now called the Renter's Handbook. The handbook discusses the rental cycle from finding a home to moving-out, explaining the regulations as they apply during the process. There is a helpful index in the back of the handbook, as well as the voter registration form required by the Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance. The new handbook also includes tips and best practices to help enhance the rental relationship. As per the standing regulations, the handbook must be provided to renters as follows (a digital copy is acceptable unless otherwise indicated):

  • When a renter applies to rent
  • At the initial signing of a rental agreement (printed copy required)
  • At the renewal of a rental agreement
  • Annually for month-to-month tenants
  • Whenever the City makes updates 

SDCI recognizes that there will be a transition between the old summary and the Renter's Handbook so additional time will apply to facilitate the update. As of September 1, 2021, the only summary considered to comply with the ordinance requirement will be the Renter's Handbook. You must give tenants a paper copy when they sign a new rental agreement, but you may send it by email in all other cases. Translated versions are available.

SDCI has provided a limited quantity of hard copies to RHAWA. When available, you can find the link to order the hardcopy (charge of $3.30 to cover the cost of shipping and handling) and/or download a digital copy from our Leases & Forms page under Lease Signing/Move-In Documents.

To comply with the requirement to provide the document "Whenever the City makes updates", you may email the following link to your tenants:  http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/RentingInSeattle/languages/English/RentersHandbook_English.pdf