A Washington month-to-month lease agreement is a contract (written or oral) that allows a tenant to rent property from a landlord, in exchange for a fee (“rent”), for a period of thirty days at a time. The agreement remains active until either party gives proper notice to end it.
Note: For fixed term leases in Washington (i.e., 1-year), click here.
How do Washington Month-to-Month Lease Agreements Work?
A landlord and tenant can enter into a month-to-month lease through a written contract or oral agreement. It does not have to be written.
Once the lease is active, both parties are given full rights under Washington landlord tenant law. This includes the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable living space, the tenant’s responsibility to pay rent in a timely manner and all other rights and responsibilities.
How Much Notice is Needed to End the Lease?
In Washington either party may terminate a month-to-month lease with at least a 20 days’ notice, unless the lease agreement states a different notice period. However, there are some exceptions when more than 20 days’ notice is required. For example, 90 days’ notice is required for a rental agreement policy change such as changing to a lawfully allowed age-restricted facility. 120 days’ notice is required for a major renovation or building-use change. RCW 59.18.200
In all parts of Washington state, a landlord does not need to have any cause to terminate a month-to-month lease, except in Seattle. In Seattle, a landlord must have one of these causes to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement, which are:
- Tenant’s failure to pay rent.
- The tenant received more than four late rent notices in the past 12 months.
- Tenant violated a material condition of the rental agreement and failed to fix the problem after getting 10 days’ notice.
- Tenant got more than three of these 10 days’ notices in the past 12 months.
- The landlord wants to move into the unit or have a family member move in. This requires 90 days’ notice.
- The landlord wants to sell the property.
- A tenant’s occupancy is due to employment and the employment is terminated.
- Landlord lives in the same property and no longer wants to share it.
- The landlord wants to substantially remodel or demolish the property. This requires 120 days’ notice.
- The landlord wants to covert the rental property into condominiums or a cooperative association. This requires 120 days’ notice.
- The landlord receives notice of housing-standards violation(s) and must pay relocation assistance to the tenants.
- The landlord receives a notice that the rental unit is illegal or unauthorized and must pay relocation assistance to the tenants.
- The landlord is ordered to reduce the number of tenants on a property. This requires a 30 days’ notice, and the landlord must pay relocation assistance to the tenants.
- The landlord receives notice of hazardous conditions on the property. If this is the landlord’s fault, then the landlord must pay relocation assistance to the tenants.
- A tenant is engaged in criminal activity and the landlord has proof of the crimes.
Notice must be provided in written form.
How Much Notice is Needed to Raise the Rent?
A Washington landlord is required to provide a written 60 days’ notice to month-to-month tenants before increased rent is expected. RCW 59.18.140
In the city of Seattle, a landlord is required to provide a minimum 60 days’ notice prior to a rent increase on a month-to-month tenant for an increase of 10% or more in a 12-month period, unless the tenancy is subsidized. It the tenant has subsidized rent, the landlord is required to provide a written 30 days’ notice prior to an increase in rent. Seattle Code 7.24.030
Notice must be provided in written form.
How are Month-to-Month Tenants Evicted in Washington?
After the landlord gives proper notice, and that period of time elapses, the lease expires and is no longer active.
If a tenant remains on the property after lease expiry, the landlord may move forward with the eviction process to remove the tenant by filing a complaint with the applicable county court in Washington. The process for eviction can be completed 1-3 months, but can take longer depending on the circumstances.
For more information on the eviction process in Washington, click here.