Washington Residential Lease Agreement

Last Updated: November 30, 2021 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 following disclosures are either required for some or all residential lease agreements in Washington.

Disclosure Applicable to
Landlord’s Name/Address All Units
Fire Safety and Protection All Units
Mold All Units
Move-In Checklist All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Security Deposit Holdings All Units Charging a Security Deposit
Fees Units Charging Nonrefundable Fees
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.

The landlord, owner or any individual authorized to manage the rental property must disclose their name and business address so future legal notices and demands sent by the tenant can be properly delivered. Generally, this information is provided in the rental agreement and shall be provided to the tenant in writing at or before the commencement of the tenancy.

Fire Safety and Protection Notice

Applicable to all rental units in Washington.

Landlords in Washington are required to provide information relating to whether the rental unit is equipped with smoke detectors and whether they are operational. Details about fire sprinklers, alarms, fire safety system and evacuation plans should be included. This information may be provided as a written notice or checklist and must include a diagram of emergency evacuation routes. It should also be signed by the landlord and tenant with copies provided to each party.

The following 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 shall 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.

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.

When retaining a security deposit at the commencement of tenancy, Washington landlords are required to provide holding information to the tenant as a form of receipt, which includes the name and location of the depository where the funds are being held.

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)

Refundable/Nonrefundable Fees

Applicable to any unit where the landlord imposes nonrefundable fees.

If a one-time, nonrefundable fee is charged in the lease agreement for pets, access to amenities, or other expenses, it must be stated as a “nonrefundable” fee in the agreement. Otherwise, the fees are subject to a refund upon termination of the lease.

Voter Registration Packet

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

In the city of Seattle, landlords shall distribute voter registration packets which include a voter registration form and information on how to register to vote and how to update voter registration.  Any tenant or prospective tenant with a new rental agreement in Seattle should receive a packet from their landlord.

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 in residential lease agreements, but either help reduce future conflicts with tenants or reduce legal liability for landlords.

  • Marijuana Use – it is recommended to state where marijuana use is and isn’t allowed on the property so that expectations are clear. Washington law allows landlords to restrict marijuana usage to non-smoking methods only or control where users can smoke to not interfere with other tenants.
  • Late and Returned Check Fees – it is recommended that landlords disclose in the lease any late fees or returned (bounced) check fees that they intend to charge. Washington does not limit how high these fees can be, but they should be considered reasonable (often no more than 10% of rent) and reflect the actual expenses incurred by the landlord as a result of a late payment. They must also be charged only after the agreed upon due date for rent, dictated in the lease. Returned check fees are limited to $40 per bad check.
  • Shared Utilities Arrangements – for rental units with shared utilities, it is recommended to disclose the specifics of how they are shared, and how each party’s bill is calculated, so that tenants have a reasonable expectation of what they owe each month.
  • Bed Bug Disclosure – for rental units with a history of infestation, it is recommended to establish an understanding of the current status of bed bugs at the property in case of a future infestation and to provide information on the protocol for handling one.
  • Asbestos Disclosure – for rental units in buildings built prior to 1981 (which are considered at-risk for asbestos), it is recommended to establish an understanding of any prior knowledge on the existence of asbestos on the property.

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