Lease Agreement for
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Washington Residential Lease Agreement for Rental Properties
Leases are the cornerstone of a successful landlord-tenant relationship, providing a legal framework for both parties to enter a harmonious agreement.
In Washington, residential lease documents—including their structure, nature, and contents—are regulated by Washington landlord tenant laws. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand the intricacies of the law before constructing a lease.
This guide will walk you through the crucial components of a lease agreement Washington state considers compliant, ensuring you’re well-equipped to make informed decisions. And to make your journey easier, we’re offering a free Washington standard residential lease template for download!
A Washington rental lease is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions governing the rental of a residential property within the state. This lease adheres to Washington’s landlord-tenant laws, providing a clear framework for both landlords and tenants to follow and fostering a secure and transparent rental environment.
The following components should be included in every Washington state lease agreement. Keep in mind that these components apply primarily to residential leases; a Washington commercial lease agreement will necessarily have different requirements.
This section specifies the lease’s start and end dates, establishing the duration of the rental agreement.
Here, you’ll find details regarding the rent rate, due date, and the status of rent control. In Washington state, rent control is banned—no cities or counties in the state can pass any law that regulates the price of rent. This means landlords can charge whatever reasonable price they deem appropriate for rent. However, some cities (like Seattle) have laws designating the amount of notice required to be given to tenants before landlords can increase rent.
The penalties for missing rent payments should be clearly stated in the lease, as should any exceptions. In Washington, late fees are limited to $20 or 20% of the rent, whichever is greater (RCW § 19.150.150). There is also a mandatory five-day grace period in Washington, meaning that landlords in the state cannot charge tenants late fees until at least five days after the day rent is due (RCW § 59.18.170). Every Washington rental lease should include a precise description of the landlord’s late fee policy, so that tenants know exactly what will happen if they are late to pay rent.
This section of the lease includes details about the security deposit, including its amount, where it will be stored, and how/when it will be returned.
There is no maximum or limit on security deposits in Washington state. However, Washington does have laws regulating other aspects of security deposits. For instance, landlords must store all deposits in a trust account or other financial institution, separate from other funds (RCW § 59.18.270). Additionally, deposits must be returned to tenants (minus any deductions) within 21 days after the lease ends (RCW § 59.18.280).
Every Washington lease agreement should include a detailed but succinct description of the landlord’s security deposit policy, including the amount, how/when it will be returned, and the conditions under which funds may be withheld from it.
This section encompasses crucial required disclosures, which are information that must be disclosed to the tenant in the lease before they agree to rent the property. These disclosures must be included in every lease agreement Washington state considers compliant or provided to the tenant in a separate written notice.
In Washington, the required disclosures are:
- Lead-based paint – Landlords in all 50 states must disclose lead-based paint hazards in rental agreements for most properties built before 1978.
- Landlord/agent identification – Washington landlords must disclose to tenants the names and addresses of the owner and agents authorized to act on their behalf.
- Security deposit receipt – Landlords in Washington must supply tenants with a written receipt for all security deposits.
- Move-in/move-out checklist –Washington landlords must provide tenants with a written checklist describing any existing damages to the property.
- Fire safety and protection – Landlords in Washington must provide a written notice disclosing fire safety and protection information to all tenants.
- Mold –Washington landlords must provide written disclosure about health hazards associated with mold exposure.
- Nonrefundable fees – Landlords in Washington must disclose the purpose and amount of all nonrefundable fees.
Landlord Right to Entry
In Washington, there are specific laws governing when a landlord can enter a rental property. Landlords must provide at least 2 days’ notice before entering an occupied unit for any non-emergency reason. All Washington lease agreements should include the landlord’s right of entry and the possible reasons for entry (e.g., showings, inspections, repairs, etc.).
Repairs & Maintenance
The lease outlines how and when tenants should submit maintenance requests and clarifies the process for addressing necessary repairs. Every Washington residential lease agreement should specify which maintenance responsibilities are the landlord’s and which are the tenant’s.
Lease Termination/Renewal Procedures
This section details the procedures for early lease termination and breaking the lease, including eviction processes. Specifically, the lease should clearly state how many days’ notice the tenant needs to provide the landlord to announce their intent to either renew or terminate the lease.
A Washington residential lease agreement should also clearly describe what happens if the tenant breaks the lease. Before filing for eviction in Washington, landlords must send eviction notices of specified lengths: A 14-day pay or quit notice for nonpayment, a ten-day cure or quit notice for lease violations, or a three-day quit notice for unlawful activity. These notice periods should be specified to the tenant so that both parties are clear on what will happen if the tenant fails to uphold the lease agreement.
Any specific community rules or regulations, such as policies on smoking, guests, and pets, are listed in this section. You may also include a Washington sublease agreement if tenants are permitted to sublease their units. A Washington sublease agreement explains the rights and obligations of subtenants who rent and live in the property instead of the tenant for a certain period.
Joint and Severability Clause
This clause is for leases with multiple roommates and explains the legal consequences if one party fails to fulfill their obligations. It ensures that the entire lease isn’t invalidated due to one roommate’s breach.
Both the landlord and tenant will sign the lease either on paper or electronically, ensuring a secure and convenient process.
Washington Lease Agreement Download
To make your leasing journey simpler, we offer a free, downloadable Washington lease agreement. This template is tailored to meet the specific requirements of Washington state law, making it a valuable tool for landlords and tenants.
Understanding the nuances of a Washington residential lease agreement is vital for a smooth and legal tenancy. We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the components of a Washington lease. To get started on the right foot, download our free Washington standard residential lease template and ensure a transparent, lawful, and satisfying rental experience.