Landlord - Tenant

COVID-19 note

The governor announced a “bridge” proclamation at a June 24 press conference intended to cover the period between the expiration of the eviction moratorium and the start of the housing stability programs put in place by the Legislature (July 1 through September 30). The governor announced an extension of the bridge proclamation until October 31 to allow time to distribute rental assistance funding at a September 24 press conference.

  • Nolo has a summary of both state and federal eviction protections.
  • Washington LawHelp has information about eviction during COVID-19, and an Eviction Help App.
  • The Attorney General’s Office has a Landlord-Tenant page that includes information about SB 5160 (the new state legislation passed earlier this year that includes new rules for evictions and housing related practices after COVID-19) and the Eviction Resolution Program.
  • The Clark County Superior Court has entered a General Order about the Eviction Resolution Program that impacts the eviction process.

Be aware that the situation is fluid and that you should verify there is no additional guidance issued. We are posting these links for your convenience but cannot guarantee that they are complete or up-to-date.

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 Act is in Chapter 59.18 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Washington LawHelp's, 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.

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. Community Mediation Services provides mediation resources to facilitate dialogue and negotiation between tenants and landlords about any issues, including rent payment plans to help renters maintain housing.

Eviction

Eviction law in the state is currently in flux. The 2021 legislative session made significant changes to the law. Pending cases in the Washington Supreme Court may also impact eviction.

Washington LawHelp has written a brief summary of the state's new 2021 landlord/tenant legislation. You can also read additional information from the law library about some of the changes in the law. The King County Law Library posted a blog on the status of the law as of August 4.

Forms, procedures, and requirements have changed. Some information about changes in notice requirements is available from Washington LawHelp. A new Eviction Resolution Program imposes additional requirements, and the Superior Court has issued General Orders about that program. Landlords and tenants can contact Community Mediation Services to obtain free services under the Eviction Resolution Program.

Because of these changes, sales of the eviction kit that the law library had have been suspended. Written materials in the library are also no longer completely current.

The eviction kit will be for sale again after an attorney has determined that all of the changes that pertain to the eviction process have been made clear. Email lawlibrary@clark.wa.gov or call 564.397.2268 if you wish to be notified when an updated eviction kit is for sale. Because of the complexity of the situation, it may be months before a new kit is ready.

Eviction defense

Tenants can get information and forms at Washington LawHelp. There are forms and instructions for tenants who need to respond to an eviction lawsuit as soon a possible. They also have a page for "Facing Eviction - Get Help" which includes an Eviction Defense Helper tool to assist you in figuring out what to do next. There is a page specifically for Eviction Help in Clark County. The Centers for Disease Control eviction moratorium is scheduled through October 3, and requires a declaration be given to the landlord if you qualify.

Tenants needs to be aware that there have been substantial changes in the law about evictions in 2021.

Washington LawHelp has information and forms for several situations including, Eviction and Your Defense Going to Your Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) Hearing, and information about specific notices you may have received

There is also material on 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.)

Solid Ground has a lot of information about eviction and the process of eviction including the different types of eviction notices, the process and timeline for eviction, a list of what landlords cannot legally do, and other resources.

Washington LawHelp has information about the Eviction Resolution Program. For free services under the Eviction Resolution Program, contact Community Mediation Services.

A new law passed in 2021 created a Right to Counsel program for low-income tenants who are facing eviction. This program guarantees free legal representation for anyone receiving certain types of public assistance or who have an annual post-tax income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.