Amendments To Washington’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act
Key amendments to Washington State’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RCW 59.18, or the “Act”) will become law on July 27th, 2019. The new amendments expand protections for tenants while limiting landlords’ eviction options. Additionally, the amendments expand judicial discretion in eviction hearings. Before, judges were strictly bound by the statute, but, after July 27th, judges may consider circumstantial factors.
The amendments specifically alter several aspects of the Act:
- The landlord must provide 14 days-notice, instead of 3 days-notice, to the tenant to cure default regarding overdue rent;
- Any payment by tenants to landlords must first be applied to rent before any money can be applied to any other costs or charges;
- Judges presiding over show-cause hearings following entry of judgement in favor of the landlord will now hold authority to stop or delay entry of a Writ of Restitution by weighing circumstantial factors such as,
- payment history of tenant,
- ability of tenant to timely pay judgement,
- and the potential hardship towards tenant upon eviction.
This list does not completely describe the totality of the new legislation, nor can it encompass the ripple effects that are sure to follow once the new Act becomes law. Careful legal analysis is needed on a case-by-case basis. If you are a landlord or a tenant and have questions about your rights under this new Act, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.