New State Laws effective June 11 – new RHAWA forms and lease revisions

Posted By: Sean Martin (deleted) Advocacy, Announcements, Law, Management, Leasing,

The 2020 state legislative session ended in March, and with it came substantial changes to several components of landlord-tenant law. Below is a summary of those laws, with additional notes on legal forms created and amended to ensure that RHAWA members are using the most current documents available. If you’re a former member, or are learning about RHAWA for the first time and reading this article, our legal forms are continuously reviewed to ensure they comply with the latest changes and trends in state and local laws, and best practices. In addition to changes made to comply with new laws, formatting has also been revised to make the documents easy to use and flexible for members to add their personal touches where appropriate.

RHAWA Forms, alone, are worth the price of admission – not to mention the many other benefits of membership. Please consider this when it comes time to renew your dues – your membership with RHAWA ensures we have the resources to invest in advocacy and stay on top of the changes that impact you, the rental housing provider, most!

HB 1694: Installment payments of Move-In costs

If requested by the tenant, an installment plan must be permitted for move in costs including deposits, non-refundable fees, and last month’s rent. This is applicable statewide. Minimum terms are as follows:

  • Three installments for terms equal to or greater than 3 months.
  • Two installments for terms less than 3 months.

Payment plans are not required to be provided if the deposit + other non-refundable fees, in total, do not exceed 25% of the first month’s rent and no prepayment of last month’s rent is required. Holding deposits are also now limited to 25% of rent.

Forms updated/created include:

  • New installment payment addendum
  • Agreement to Enter into Lease is modified to reflect the 25% cap on holding amount charges
  • Lease agreement language updated to reflect tenant ability to request installment payments on “move-in” costs

HB 2535: Late Rent Grace Period

No late fees may be charged if rent is paid within five days following the rent due date. However, rent which is more than 5 days past the rent due date may be assessed late fees dating back to the first day rent became delinquent. A 14-day notice to pay or vacate may still be served the day after rent is due (not counting current COVID rules in place through August 1, 2020 which prohibit evictions).

If proposed by a tenant whose primary income is a government assistance payment received monthly after the rent due date in the lease, the landlord must agree to an alternate due date within five days of the date on the agreement.

Forms updated/created include:

  • Lease agreement language modified to reflect changes in when/how late fees may be assessed

HB 6378: Changes to 14-day notice to Pay or Vacate

Information required to be disclosed on the notice for information for the tenant on the 14-day notice has been revised. Note that use of the 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate is currently prohibited under current COVID rules in place thru August 1, 2020).

Forms updated/created include:

  • 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate

SB 5165: Concerning discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status (use of social security numbers)

Citizenship or immigration status were added to Washington’s list of protected class statuses under the law against discrimination. It is not unfair practice when distinction or differential treatment based on citizenship or immigration status is authorized by federal or state law, regulation, rule, or government contract.

RHAWA recommends that rental housing providers work with applicants who cannot produce a social security number when applying for tenancy.