Rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
An overview of the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants can be found in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA).
- The text of the RLTA is in Chapter 59.18 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
- Washington LawHelp's resource, Your Rights as a Tenant in Washington State, explains residential tenants' and landlords' rights and responsibilities in Washington as described in the RLTA.
Additional material at Washington LawHelp covers many specific issues related to tenants' rights including:
- What to Do if You Need Repairs
- Getting Your Security Deposit Back
- Can My Landlord Do That?
- And much more.
The Clark County Rental Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating landlords. They offer newsletters, publications, mentorship, classes, and forms.
If tenants and landlords need help working toward a resolution of issues they may have with each other, mediation is available from Community Mediation Services. They provide mediation resources to facilitate dialogue and negotiation between tenants and landlords about any issues, including rent payment plans to help renters maintain housing.
A rough outline of the eviction process is provided in an article from Doorloop and an article from ipropertymanagement. These can demonstrate a general idea of the steps and timeline, but be aware that they do not include all possible steps or local rules. For example, they do not mention the Eviction Resolution Program requirements or payment plans.
Recent legislation changed many forms, procedures, and requirements. The following resources highlight some of the changes:
- Pierce County Law Library has a series of videos in which attorney Adam Birnbaum discusses the changes made to the Residential Landlord Tenant Act (RLTA), the Eviction Resolution Program (ERP), and the eviction process.
- A summary of some of the changes is available in an article from Avail.
- Additional information about some of the changes to the law is available from the law library.
- Some information about changes in notice requirements is available from Washington LawHelp.
- The Attorney General's Office has created a new form for a 14-day notice as well as an unpaid rent repayment plan worksheet.
- The Attorney General’s Office Landlord-Tenant page includes information about the law and some resources.
- Community Mediation Services (CMS) has a Landlord Portal for landlords who would like to use their Eviction Resolution Program. CMS collects notices and provides status updates on cases and certificate requests through the portal.
- Low income tenants are entitled to a free attorney
- Clark County Superior Court has issued General Orders regarding evictions
Self-help kit from the King County Law Library
The King County Law Library has an eviction kit for sale. It includes a 14-day Pay Rent or Vacate Notice, a 10-Day Comply or Vacate Notice, and a Notice to Terminate a Periodic Tenancy.
The kit is designed for King County and includes local rules for locations within that county. Because every local government may have their own requirements, you may need to customize forms or modify procedures to comply with local rules within Clark County such as:
- The Vancouver Municipal Code includes Chapter 8.47 titled Eviction Notice.
- The Clark County Superior Court has issued General Order 21-07A about the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program and updated that with General Order 22-02. The latest General Orders are available from the Superior Court.
You should consult with an attorney if you have any questions about the process or how to customize the forms within the kit. The Clark County Law Library does not endorse the materials in the kit.
Recent legislation made substantial changes to the law about evictions. One of the changes is that a landlord must give a "good" reason to end a tenancy or not renew a lease.
Washington LawHelp has materials for tenants including:
- Eviction Help in Clark County that includes information about free attorneys for eligible tenants under the new Right to Counsel program.
- Information for tenants in Clark County to learn how to respond to a 14-Day Pay or Vacate notice and Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP) notices.
- An Eviction Defense Helper tool that can assist you in figuring out what to do next.
The Clark County Superior Court has issued General Order 21-06A about the appointment of counsel for indigent tenants. The latest General Orders are available on the Superior Court site.
Washington LawHelp also has information and forms for specific situations. Some examples:
- I Need to Respond to an Eviction Lawsuit as Soon as Possible
- Eviction and Your Defense
- Going to Your Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Hearing
- Vacating (Canceling) a Judgment and Staying (Stopping) Enforcement of a Writ after You Defaulted in your Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Case (if you did not go to court and did not file an answer for a good reason, such as the landlord didn’t serve you with the summons and complaint).
Washington LawHelp has information about the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program. For free services under the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, contact Community Mediation Services.
The Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program has a page about eviction and rent help, and the Washington Attorney General has a page with residential landlord-tenant resources.
Free eBooks about landlord-tenant law
How to find books about landlord - tenant law