Washington State Rent Increases & Fees

Last Updated: May 9, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

QUICK FACTS
  • Rent Control / Increase Limitations. Washington state landlords can raise rent only if there’s appropriate notice provided.
  • Notice Required to Raise Rent. Washington landlords must provide 60 days’ notice from next rent due date.
  • Bounced Check Fees. Washington state landlords may charge up to $40 for bounced checks.

When Can a Landlord Increase Rent?

A Washington landlord is bound by the terms of the written lease. He/she may increase rent when the lease is renewed or if both parties agree to a change in the conditions of the lease. When dealing with a month-to-month tenant, a landlord may increase rent as he/she sees fit so long as the appropriate notice is provided. (RCW 59.18.140)

When is it Illegal to Raise Rent?

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, in Washington state it is illegal for a landlord to raise rent based on the age, race, religion, nation or origin, familial status, or disability status of a tenant.

It is also illegal for a Washington landlord to increase rent on a tenant in retaliation for exercising his/her legal rights by filing a complaint regarding the health, safety, or housing code violations of the rental property with the appropriate agency. (RCW 59.18.240)

Is there a Rent Increase Limit?

The state of Washington does not dictate a maximum amount of rent a landlord may charge.

How Much Notice is Needed for Raising Rent?

A Washington landlord must provide a written 60-Day Notice to tenants before increasing rent. (RCW 59.18.140)

In the city of Seattle, a landlord must provide a minimum 60-Day Notice prior to a rent increase that is 10% or more, unless the tenancy is subsidized. It the tenant has subsidized rent, the landlord must provide a written 30-Day Notice prior to an increase in rent. (Seattle Code 7.24.030)

For a FREE rent increase notice template, click here.

How Often Can Rent Be Increased?

The state of Washington does not regulate the frequency with which a landlord may increase rent.

Laws Regarding Late Fees

Washington landlords can charge a “reasonable” late fee for each month a tenant does not pay rent when it’s due. A late fee of $20 or 20% of the monthly rental amount, whichever is greater is a “reasonable” amount. The late fee must be written in the lease agreement. (RCW 19.150.150)

Laws Regarding Bounced Check Fees

A Washington landlord may charge a tenant up to 12% interest and collect a fee of up to $40 when a rent check has insufficient funds and remains unpaid for 15 days. (RCW 62A.3-515)

Cities in the State with Rent Control

Washington state has no legislation controlling the amount of rent a landlord may charge. The state does have legislation preempting legislation attempts by local municipalities to control rent. (RCW 35.21.830)