Washington Landlord Retaliation Laws

Washington Landlord Retaliation Laws

Last Updated: August 18, 2023

Tenant Protected Actions
  • Health/Safety Complaints to Gov’t
  • Enforcing Lawful Rights
Landlord Retaliatory Actions
  • Raising Rent
  • Increasing Tenant Obligations
  • Decreasing Services
  • Filing Eviction
Penalties for Retaliation
  • End Lease
  • Repossess Property
  • Sue for Damages

When Is It Illegal for Landlords to Retaliate in Washington?

It’s illegal for Washington landlords to retaliate with raised rent, increased tenant obligations, reduced services, or eviction against tenants who have taken one of the following protected actions in the past 90 days:

  • Complaints to the government about health and safety violations on the rental property.
  • Attempts to enforce lawful rights given under the law or the lease (for example, giving proper written notice to the landlord about required repairs under Washington’s landlord-tenant act).

The law allows an exception when the landlord can prove a non-retaliatory, good-faith reason for the alleged retaliatory action. For example, a landlord who raises rent proportionately in response to a large increase in property tax is not retaliating, even if a tenant has recently complained about maintenance.

What Can Tenants Do in Response in Washington?

Washington tenants can respond to landlord retaliation by suing for quiet enjoyment of the property. The tenant might ask a court for an injunction, lease cancellation, or monetary damages related to the costs of the retaliation. In whatever case, the tenant can recover costs for administration and legal representation.