Grab our free sample or generate an official Washington lease agreement for residential use. Read further about required disclosures in Washington, optional addendums for things like pets, and what Washington landlord tenant laws apply to residential lease agreements.
Lease Agreement Sample
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Security Deposits in Washington
There is no state-mandated limit on security deposits in Washington. However, landlords usually charge one or two month’s rent as a security deposit. Landlords are not allowed to make security deposits non-refundable. However, they are allowed to charge a fee that will not be refunded for having a pet or another purpose as long as this is clearly stated in the written lease agreement.
Landlords must place security deposits funds in 1) a trust account or in; 2) an account at a state or national financial institutions, or in; 3) an escrow account maintained by a licensed escrow agent. If the account pays interest, the landlord does not have to give the interest to the tenant unless that condition is stated in the written lease. The landlord must give a written receipt to the tenant that identifies the account holding the security deposit and where it is located. If the funds are ever moved, the tenant must be given written notice of the new account.
The landlord and tenant must both sign a written move-in checklist at the beginning of the tenancy that states the condition of the rental unit before the landlord can collect a security deposit.
Within 14 days after a tenant moves out, the landlord must refund the security deposit or the balance remaining with an itemized list of each authorized deduction. Authorized deductions should be stated in the lease and include things like unpaid rent, damage repair, and cleaning costs. If the security deposit is not sufficient to pay for these things, then, the landlord can sue the tenant for the balance.
A landlord who wrongfully withholds a security deposit may be liable for up to two times the amount of the deposit, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.
Breaking a Lease in Washington
Under Washington laws, a tenant must pay the rent for the entire lease even if not occupying the rental unit except for certain special circumstances that include:
- The rental unit is not habitable because of violations of the Washington Health or Safety Codes (section 59.18.100, .110, and .115).
- The landlord violates a tenant’s privacy rights or harasses a tenant (section 59.18.150).
- A tenant is the victim of domestic violence or stalking (section 59.18.575).
- A tenant is called up for active military duty (Federal law: War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 App. U.S.C.A. section 501).
Regardless of the reason that a tenant breaks a lease, under Washington state law section 59.18.310, the landlord must make a reasonable effort to re-rent the vacant unit.
Eviction Process in Washington
A landlord must give a tenant 14 days’ notice to pay the rent or vacate under section 59.12.030(3) before filing a lawsuit for eviction. Under section 59.12.030, if the tenant causes serious damage to the rental unit, creates a serious nuisance, or is involved in illegal activity, the landlord may give the tenant an unconditional quit notice, giving the tenant three days to vacate before filing for eviction.