Washington Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: July 15, 2022 by Elizabeth Souza

The Washington residential lease agreement (“rental agreement”) is a binding agreement between a landlord (“property owner”) and tenant (“occupant”) to rent residential property in exchange for a fee. Governed by Washington’s landlord-tenant law, the contract has terms and conditions describing the duties of each party. There are additional disclosures and tenancy rules that apply in the city of Seattle.

Washington Lease Agreement Disclosures

The below disclosures are required for some or all residential lease agreements in Washington.

Disclosure Applicable to
Landlord’s Name/Address All Units
Fire Safety and Protection All Multi-Family Units
Mold All Units
Move-In Checklist All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Security Deposit Holdings All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Non-Refundable Fees Units Charging Non-Refundable Fees
Seattle Renter’s Handbook &
Voter Registration Packet
All Units in Seattle
Lead Paint All Units Prior to 1978
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Landlord’s Name & Address

Applicable to all rental units in Washington.

Creates a line of communication for important notices and demands between tenant and landlord. Landlords or any authorized individual to act on behalf of the property should provide contact information (including their address) within or alongside the lease.

Fire Safety and Protection Notice

Applicable to all multi-family units in Washington.

Landlords in Washington are required to provide information relating to smoke detectors, fire sprinklers, alarms, fire safety systems and evacuation plans. This information may be provided as a written notice or checklist and must include a diagram of emergency evacuation routes. It should be signed by the landlord and tenant. Copies should be provided to each party.

The below disclosures are required in the notice:

(i) Whether the smoke detection device is hard-wired or battery operated;

(ii) Whether the building has a fire sprinkler system;

(iii) Whether the building has a fire alarm system;

(iv) Whether the building has a smoking policy, and what that policy is;

(v) Whether the building has an emergency notification plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants;

(vi) Whether the building has an emergency relocation plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants; and

(vii) Whether the building has an emergency evacuation plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants.

Download: Washington State Fire & Safety Notice (PDF)

Mold Disclosure

Applicable to all rental units in Washington.

Washington requires all landlords to provide information about the dangers of indoor mold in the form of a lease disclosure or notice which must be posted in a conspicuous location. It must include information about controlling growth and limiting the health risks it poses with proper precautions.

This informational guide will satisfy Washington disclosure requirements.

Download: Washington State Mold Disclosure Form (PDF)

Move-In Checklist

Applicable to any lease where a security deposit is charged in Washington.

For a security deposit to be collected by the landlord, they must provide a written move-in checklist that takes inventory of the dwelling unit upon commencement of the tenancy. It must be signed and dated by each party, and each party shall retain a copy which will be used for assessing damages upon move-out.

Download: Washington State Move-In Checklist (PDF)

Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure

Applicable to any lease where a security deposit is charged and held in Washington.

If a security deposit is collected, a Washington landlord must provide holding information to the tenant as a form of receipt. The receipt shall include the name and location of the depository.

SECURITY DEPOSIT HOLDINGS. The security deposit collected as per this lease agreement can be found in a trust account at:

NAME OF DEPOSITORY:_________
LOCATION:____________________________________

Download: Washington State Security Deposit Holdings Disclosure (PDF)

Non-Refundable Fees

Applicable to any unit where the landlord imposes non-refundable fees in Wahington.

If a one-time, non-refundable fee is charged it must be stated as a “non-refundable” fee in the agreement. This can include fees for pets, access to amenities, or other expenses. If the fee is not disclosed in the agreement, they are subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.

Seattle Renter’s Handbook & Voter Registration Packet

Applicable to rental units located in Seattle (not required in other cities).

In the city of Seattle, landlords shall distribute a Renter’s Handbook which contains tenant information and a voter registration packet.  Any tenant or prospective tenant with a new rental agreement in Seattle should receive a tenant information and a voter registration packet from their landlord.

Download: Renter’s Handbook (Renting in Seattle)

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

Applicable to any rental units built prior to 1978.

It is a federal law in the United States that any home built prior to 1978 must disclose the risks posed by lead-based paints. This law requires landlords in Washington to:

  1. Fill out and attach this lead-based paint disclosure form to the lease agreement.
  2. Provide the tenant with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved pamphlet about the dangers of lead-based paint.
  3. Provide additional records or reports about the presence or hazards of any known lead-based paint in the unit. For multi-unit buildings with common areas, this includes information from building-wide evaluations.

Download: Washington State Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form (PDF)

Optional Disclosures & Addendums (Recommended)

The following lease agreement disclosures and addendums are not required by Washington law. These disclosures can be helpful to include to help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

Optional Disclosure How the Disclosure is Helpful
Asbestos This disclosure informs tenants if there is asbestos at the property. If there is asbestos a tenant can take certain precautions to minimize the chance of disturbing the asbestos fibers.
Bed Bugs If the rental unit has a history of infestation, landlords should provide information on how to handle a bed bug infestation. This disclosure notifies the tenant of their obligation to cooperate with bed bug prevention and immediately report any sign of infestation to the landlord.
Late/Returned Check Fees Landlords should disclose if they will charge a late fee or a returned check fee in the lease agreement. In Washington 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. Returned check fees are limited to $40 per bad check.
Medical Marijuana Use Inform tenants if medical marijuana use on the property is permittable. Some state laws allow landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.
Shared Utilities Arrangements For rental units with shared utilities, a landlord should disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated. Providing this information to tenants will give them a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
Smoking Inform tenants of designated smoking areas to not interfere with other tenants’ enjoyment of the premises.

Consequences of Not Including Mandatory Disclosures

Disclosures outline the important health, safety, and property information and vary by state. If a landlord does not provide the tenant with the federally or state-mandated disclosures, they could face legal repercussions or monetary penalties.

If a landlord fails to disclose the lead-based paint hazard disclosure, they can face fines of up to $18,364 per violation. (24 CFR § 30.65)

It’s best to check with your local and state laws on which disclosures you must provide to your tenant.

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