Rental Housing Academy Course List

Offering over 50 courses on rental operation, landlord-tenant law, property investment, and rental business management

Courses are divided into the following categories. Expand each course title below to view description.

Understanding the Law

An applicant or tenant can make a disability accommodation request at any time. Are you bound by law to deliver whatever they ask? Seattle attorney, Jeana Poloni will walk you through how to legally process an accommodation request, determine what might impose an "undue burden" on you as the landlord and engage in an interactive process to negotiate reasonable terms for an accommodation.

While Washington’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act is comprehensive and governs landlord-tenant law throughout the state, it is only enforceable through civil actions taken by landlords and tenants. It is becoming more common for cities to take the role of enforcer making it much easier for tenants to exercise their rights and inflict hefty fines on landlords. RHAWA’s legal counsel Chris Benis will explain how and where local laws are expanding accross the State.

Fair housing is a simple concept, but very difficult to apply consistently in the real world situations you face every day. Take some time to explore the various principles of fair housing, and practice applying them in multiple discussion-based exercises. Washington State and Seattle specific scenarios such as criminal records, housing voucher programs and service animals will be include

Seattle's Just Cause Eviction Ordinance was passed in 1981 in response to mass evictions that took place during the development of the convention center. Seattle Attorney Christopher Cutting will review the details of the ordinance, so you can have a clear understanding of how you can legally end month-to-month tenancies in Seattle.

Does a tenant owe you money for unpaid rent or damages? Have you received a housing complaint against you? As a landlord in Washington, it's important to understand the various issues you may face in court, how to avoid or lessen negative impact, and how to be prepared. An experienced Seattle real estate attorney will discuss different types of cases including eviction, small claims, fair housing and others.

Learn the details of three state legislature bills that went into effect on July 28, 2019. Attorney Christopher Cutting will explain the sweeping changes to the eviction process in Washington State, as well as many other changes impacting standard notice periods and how tenant payments are processed. Best practices to protect your business under the new laws will be discussed.

The landlord tenant laws of Seattle are unique and not always intuitive – and unlike State laws, come with direct enforcement measures. Experienced Seattle landlord and attorney, Chris Benis will review everything you need to know to comply with the City's laws, including Just Cause Eviction, Rental Registration and Inspection, and many other regulations and fair housing laws, old and new.

The City of Tacoma put new rental regulations into effect on February 1, 2019. In this 90-minute webinar, you will learn all the details from Christopher Cutting, attorney and RHAWA board member who participated in the stakeholder process.

Knowing your legal rights and the rights of your tenants is critical to your success as a landlord. This class provides a broad introduction to landlord-tenant law and an overview of the Washington State Residential Landlord Tenant Act (RLTA). Even experienced landlords are encouraged to review the RLTA every few years, as the law is regularly revised.

^ Top


Managing Your Rentals

Some people are just harder to deal with than others, and tenants are no exception. What can you do to minimize conflict and maintain civil dealings with a tenant who is driving you crazy? Owner and managing broker of Umano Property Management, Alberto Stein-Rios will explain how to use conflict resolution strategies and skills to manage even the most difficult of tenants, and how to safely get them out if necessary.

Without doubt, the security deposit is the most common source of dispute between landlords and tenant. Who caused the damage? What is the definition of "clean"? How much did it really cost you to fix it? Experienced rental property owner shares best practices for avoiding and winning deposit disputes. Also, what is fair and will stand up in court if needed.

Get the big picture of how to manage your rentals throughout the entire lifecycle of tenancy. You will learn from an experienced landlord who's seen it all. From creating your rental policy to move out, we will move quickly through the many aspects of being a rental property owner.

Some people are just harder to deal with than others, and tenants are no exception. What can you do to minimize conflict and maintain civil dealings with a tenant who is driving you crazy? Owner and managing broker of Umano Property Management, Alberto Stein-Rios will explain how to use conflict resolution strategies and skills to manage even the most difficult of tenants, and how to safely get them out if necessary.

One of your most important responsibilities as a rental owner or manager is to make sure the property is habitable. In addition to routine inspections, this means responding appropriately to repair requests, whenever they happen. If your property is flooding at 2 am, you need to respond immediately. Owner and property management professional, Darla Montgomery will take you through your legal obligations as well as best practices learned from 30 years in the business.

If only every tenancy was easy and hassle-free. There's no magic wand, but there are several solid best practices you can follow to minimize and manage the issues you can face with a difficult tenant. Learn how to follow effective policies and procedures for tenant screening and selection, lease signing and tenant orientation, regular inspections and on-going communications with your tenants.

Far beyond a simple score, the RHAWA full credit report provides specific and complete details on the applicant's financial history allowing you to determine their debt to income ratio and insight into their current level of financial responsibility as well as past hardships or other issues less likely to impact tenancy. In this 90-minute session, RHAWA's Director of Screening will explain how to read and interpret the report.

Properly maintaining rental property is crucial for retention of quality tenants as well as the long-term value of your property. This class dives into important maintenance issues and considerations you need to know about single-family homes and multi-unit buildings – including prompt responses to repair requests, proper notices to enter, regular inspections, budgeting, major repairs and replacement, maintenance schedules, updating, enhancements, and some cost-saving repair tips.

Marketing your rental is more than posting an ad. You'll need to do some research and set a competitive rent. Create photos that highlight the best features of your property. Include compelling details in your ad and make sure it's posted on the most popular rental websites. Select a process for showing your property that results in qualified applicants.

Consistently enforcing the terms of your rental agreement is your legal right and responsibility. Neglecting to do so opens you up to serious risks such as property damage, lost rent and fair housing complaints. The law spells out specific methods for you to do this by posting various types of notices

As a rental property owner, not only is it in your best interest to stay on top of building repair and maintenance, it is your legal responsibility to ensure the property meets basic habitability standards. For these reasons and more, routine inspections are a must. Learn what to look for and what could happen if problems are missed. Our speaker, Bryan Mize has a lifetime of experience in residential real estate and has been a licensed home inspector since 2010.

Creating screening criteria is a decision-making process specific to the nature of the property and how you manage it. How much does credit, employment and rental history matter in a property where 90% of your applicants are fulltime college students? Will your credit history standards be the same for high-end and low-income housing? Veteran property manager and rental owner, Darla Montgomery will walk you through the process of creating your own tenant screening criteria designed to help you identify low-risk tenants for your rental.

Learn what to inspect and what routine maintenance you should be doing on your Pacific NW properties as we head into Fall and Winter months. What can you easily do yourself, and when should you call in the pros. In this 60-minute webinar, seasoned property manager and RHA instructor, Darla Montgomery will share best practices and key learnings from over 30 years managing hundreds of properties for others, as well as a few of her own.

The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (RRIO) program helps ensure that all rental housing in Seattle is safe and meets basic housing maintenance requirements. This class will help you understand your obligations to the program as a property owner. Representatives of the program will be able to answer your questions. Limited information about other registration and inspection programs in other cities will also be provided.

Did you know that by accepting pets, you will more than double your pool of potential tenants? Also, with the current trend in use of emotional support animals, you may end up with animals in your rental even if you do not accept pets. In this 60-minute webinar, Bill Jackson, RHA’s Snohomish County LINK Meeting leader and instructor will walk you through best practices for setting restrictions and requirements for pets, processing reasonable accommodation requests involving animals, and managing risks associated with pet damages.

It's common to experience move-out conflicts, even with the best tenants. Successful, trouble free move-outs start with setting clear expectations and having good documentation from the very beginning. This seminar reviews best practices for lease signing, move-in / move-out unit condition assessments and other issues related to tenants moving out. Also, how to handle a move-out if these practices and documentation were not in place.

Understand how to use RHAWA's leasing documents with confidence and determine when revisions are appropriate. Know which addenda are required for compliance with federal, state and local laws. Learn how to easily maintain and update your agreements throughout the tenancy.

With the steadily increasing rents over the last several years, we have been seeing more unrelated tenants who simply cannot afford to live alone. While this is a great solution for many, tenancies with unrelated roommates can present some challenging situations for both tenants and landlords. In this 60-minute webinar, seasoned property manager and RHA instructor, Bill Jackson will review policies and practices to address screening and income requirements, mid-tenancy roommate changes, responsibility for damages and cleaning and other unique situations.

^ Top


Managing Your Business

Understand the general concepts of Estate Planning as well as how owning investment properties can complicate your estate for your loved ones. There are taxes, partnership matters, and family issues to be considered. Whether you own one rental property or one hundred, it is important to plan for how your legacy and rental business will be dealt with after you pass away.

In today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s difficult to know how to plan for the future. If you already own investment property, that’s a great start. But what else can you do to manage risk while improving growth on your investments? Certified Financial Planning practitioner and rental owner, Maureen Jones will share from her personal and professional experience how to balance investment property ownership with other investments to achieve a well-balanced portfolio for wealth management.

Understand the different funding strategies available to you as you expand your property investment portfolio. Learn how to qualify for commercial and residential loans with the best possible rates.

Without keeping a close eye on your rental income and expenses, you may be losing money and not even realize it. Keeping track of financial data is not only critical for running the day-to-day operations of your rental property business, but it is also essential when seeking funding from lenders or investors to take your business to the next level. In this class, you’ll become familiar with tools and best practices that will help you determine your cash flow and streamline tax filing.

Experienced property investor and business consultant, Sharon Cunnington will take you through the steps to make informed decisions when investing in property. Learn how to research and analyze different market areas so you can buy, hold and sell in the right place at the right time. This interactive workshop includes hands-on practice interpreting and analyzing current rental property MLS listings.

Thinking about when and where to buy or sell? In this 60-minute webinar, Candice Chevaillier, Partner and Co-Founder of Commercial Analytics will review current rental housing trends in the Seattle-Metro area. She will explain the latest data on supply, expected demand, vacancies and rent growth.

Do you have funds sitting in an IRA or 401K that you would like to get out of traditional investments? What if you could use that money to buy a triplex before you turn 59½ without tax penalties? Joe DiDomenico, CEO of Wealthflex and RHAWA board member reviews various cases, discussing choices that yielded good results and what to avoid.

Learn the importance of how a capital plan can assist with maintaining your properties and planning for large inevitable expenses. We will discuss the different types of capital plans, how the plans are calculated and red flags that you can look for at your own properties to identify potential issues early and avoid unforeseen repairs. Association Reserves has prepared over 45,000 of reports for all types of properties and Project Manager Karen McDonald, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, RS will walk you through the process in this 60-minute webinar.

Confused about hiring a property manager? In this on-hour webinar, Evan Loeffler of Loeffler Legal Group, PLLC will review examples of property management contracts and discuss what you should and should not agree to. You will learn what services and rates to expect and how to protect your interests as property owner.

You've placed a substantial asset in the hands of your renter, now how do you protect yourself from potential loss and liability? Learn how to mitigate risk through a carefully structured insurance plan, the use of LLCs and best practices in your operations routines.

Property investors have a powerful tool for building and preserving their real estate wealth. The IRS 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchange allows investors to defer paying capital gains taxes from the sale of investment real property, if the proceeds are immediately re-invested into "Like-Kind" property. An experienced Qualified Intermediary will take you through the myths and facts on regulations, prohibitions and logistics of using these valuable tools. We will also explore specific strategies for various situations and market conditions.

Many people with rental properties figure they’ll just keep collecting rent until they die. But is that a realistic expectation? It’s easy to be caught off guard by unexpected taxes and other burdens when attempting to exit the rental business to retire. Take some time to plan ahead and consider various strategies for retirement while making the most of your property investments.

Did you know that an LLC operating agreement spelling out shares and responsibilities among family members trumps a will? Or that running your rentals as a qualified family business can result in significant estate tax savings? In this seminar, learn about the many potential benefits to running your rentals as a business using LLCs and how it’s done properly.

Best practices for the small landlord on how to structure your business and taxes to take advantage of commonly overlooked deductions. New items for the current tax year will be covered as well as some thoughts on the changing tax environment for the future.

^ Top


Trending Issues

Washington State Law prohibits blanket denials of tenancy due to criminal history. Instead, landlords must either disregard criminal history or conduct individualized assessments to determin a business case for denying tenancy based on criminal history. Learn what to consider when reviewing criminal history and how to complete an adverse action notice appropriately.

Washington state’s Landlord Mitigation Fund provides landlords with an incentive and added security to work with tenants receiving rental assistance. This fund has recently been expanded to support eviction reinstatement payment plans provided for in new laws effective July 28, 2019. Program administrator, Nick Yuva will explain how the program works and answer your questions.

The Greater Seattle rental market is becoming more competitive, with large developers offering amenities targeted to meet the needs of the 200+ people moving into the area every day. How can you keep your rentals relevant for these new residents and compete with properties setting the bar for future market rates? An experienced property investor and broker will lead this discussion and explore amenities and services that can set your rental apart.

RHAWA's Deputy Director of Government Affairs is involved in the stake-holder process for multiple regulatory initiatives at the city, county and state level throughout the year. These live webinars are free for members and focus on a separate initiative each month. These sessions provide an opportunity to ask questions and hear about what you can do to help form positive and appropriate consumer protections while protecting the rights and interests of property owners.

Have you ever received an application from someone who has recently immigrated to the U.S. or is here on a student or work visa? Learn what documentation to look for and how to appropriately assess potential risk.

Have you ever wondered if AirBnB or VRBO would be a better way to operate your investment property than as a residential rental? RHAWA’s current President, William Shadbolt and Treasuror, Sharon Cunnington will discuss how they got into short-term rentals and what they have discovered along the way. They will compare and contrast the risks, profitability, and management burden of both business models and answer questions from their own personal experience.

Seattle recently passed legislation that opens more options for home owners to rent Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADU) on their property. The instructor will discuss the ins and outs adding rental income to your single-family home and how the regulations and restrictions vary widely in various cities and counties.

Anytime you turnover your rental, you may find yourself working with a renter who has a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) as part of their income. Several cities and now the entire State of Washington list "source of income" as a protected class, which means it is illegal to discriminate against those who use rental assistance such as Section 8. In this 90-minute webinar, Seattle Housing Authority staff will demystify the process and walk you through the typical landlord experience when working with Section 8 tenants.

^ Top


HAVE QUESTIONS?  Contact our Director of Learning or at (206) 905-0614.


BECOME A MEMBER