Important Information For Our Tenants
In the following pages, you’ll find answers to many of the questions that come up during the process of renting a property in the state of Washington as well as some handouts, pamphlets and useful links. Much of the information here is vital for you to know, and we highly suggest that you read this document as soon as you can. Should you have a question that isn’t answered here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Welcome to your new home! Regards,
The Team at Seattle Rental Group
Prior to Renting 1. How do I obtain keys on my move-in date? We’ll meet you on your move-in day to provide you with the keys and get you situated in the property. Some condominiums will have orientations and move-in reservations that need to be made in advance, so contact numbers for the property managers or concierge staff will be provided to you upon signing the lease. Please note: some buildings won’t allow you to move in without prior arrangement, so please make sure to follow up as needed!
2. When should I set up my electricity, garbage collection and other utility accounts? Below you’ll find contact info for our local utility companies. Any special instructions regarding your utilities will be outlined in your lease agreement. If you’re living within the city of Seattle, we’ll also give you a Seattle City Light application to fill out and sign so that we can have your landlord sign and fax the form in prior to occupancy. City of Seattle Electricity: Seattle City Light - 206-684-3000 Water/Sewer: Seattle Public Utilities - 206-684-3000 Garbage/Yard Waste: Seattle Public Utilities - 206-684-3000 Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 City of Bellevue Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Bellevue Utilities - 425-452-6973 Garbage/Yard Waste: Republic Services - 425-452-5762 City of Kirkland Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Kirkland City Utilities - 425-587-3150 Garbage/Yard Waste: Kirkland City Utilities - 425-587-3150 City of Mercer Island Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Mercer Island Utilities - 206-275-7783 Garbage/Yard Waste: Republic Services - 425-452-5762 City of Redmond Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Redmond Utilities - 425-556-2152 Garbage/Yard Waste: Waste Management - 800-592-9995
City of Issaquah Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Issaquah Utilities - 425-837-3050 Garbage/Yard Waste: Republic Services - 425-452-5762 City of Sammamish Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Sammamish Plateau Water Garbage/Yard Waste: Waste Management - 800-592-9995 City of Tacoma Electricity/Gas: Tacoma Power - 253-502-8600 Water/Sewer: Tacoma Water - 253-502-8600 Garbage/Yard Waste: Solid Waste Mgmnt - 253-502-2100 City of Kenmore Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Northshore Utility - 425-398-4400 Garbage/Yard Waste: Waste Management - 800-592-9995 City of Mill Creek Electricity/Gas: Puget Sound Energy - 888-225-5773 Water/Sewer: Silverlake Water & Sewer - 425-337-3647 or Alderwood Water & Sewer - 425-743-4605 Garbage/Yard Waste: Waste Management - 800-592-9995
3. What companies offer high speed Internet and cable TV at my new home? High speed Internet service providers vary based on your specific neighborhood and condominium building. Here are the primary providers for our area. Please ask us if you need help figuring out which company covers your new residence. Xfinity - 877-824-2288 Wave Broadband - 844-325-1568 Cascade Link - 206-774-3660
CenturyLink - 866-863-6665 Frontier - 844-490-5954
Seattle office: 3509 Fremont Ave N #300 - Seattle WA 98103 Phone: 206-315-4628 © Pointe3 Real Estate LLC v03.08.21
Verizon FIOS - 877-585-7951 Dish Network - 855-775-2923
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4. Where else do I need to register? Remember to contact the WA State Department of Licensing to update your driver’s license address, as well as the State of Washington to update your voter registration address and district. If you haven’t secured renters insurance yet, please do so ASAP. If you need a referral to a renters insurance company, let us know.
5. What is the Property Condition Addendum? At lease signing, we’ll provide you with a move-in checklist called the Property Condition Addendum. To avoid potential disagreements with your landlord when you move out, it’s very important that you thoroughly inspect each room at move-in for any existing damages so that you won’t be held responsible for them. When you move-in, you’ll have 48-hours to document any existing damages on the Addendum, and return the completed form to us. Here are a couple basic steps we recommend: o Walk through each room, noting the condition of ceilings, walls, woodwork, windows, floors and carpeting. o Check the condition of all appliances, built-ins, electrical outlets and bathroom fixtures. o Check drainage of sinks, tubs and toilets. Note any missing or broken components. o Test air conditioning and heating units for correct operation. o Take pictures to document the condition of the property o Document all keys/fobs/remotes given to you at move-in.
During your Lease 1. How do I pay my rent? On page 5 of your lease agreement, you’ll find the specific instructions on how to pay your rent. Please remember that rent is due on the date specified in your lease, and is subject to a late fee should you not pay it on time. If you have any questions about making payments or due dates, please let us know.
2. Who do I contact if there’s a maintenance issue? At move-in, we’ll give you the contact info for the person to reach out to if you have any issues within your property during your lease term. Depending on the service that your landlord has set up with us, your landlord may be your primary contact, or we at Seattle Rental Group may be your primary contact.
3. What do I do when my lease is about to expire? We’ll reach out to you three months prior to your lease expiration to check in with you. If you’d like to renew your lease, we recommend reaching out at least 30 days’ prior to your lease termination. If you wish to vacate at the end of your lease, you must give at least 30 days’ written notice prior to the lease expiration date. If you’re on a month to month tenancy, you must give 20 days’ written notice prior to the end of any given month if you intend to vacate the premises at the end of that month. If proper notice is not given, you may be responsible for the following month’s rental payment. If you occupy the property past the lease expiration date without a lease renewal contract in place, and your landlord accepts and deposits the following month’s rental payment from you, then your lease automatically converts to a month-to-month agreement - in this scenario, at least 20 days’ notice is also required to terminate.
4. What’s the protocol if I have to break my lease? If you must break your lease during the lease term, you must first notify your landlord. As per the Washington State Landlord Tenant Laws (RCW 59.18.310) and your lease agreement, you’re responsible for paying rent until the time a new tenant takes possession as well as any costs associated with re-renting the property. Your landlord currently uses a professional company to lease their property at the cost equivalent to one month’s rent. Should you need to break your lease, your costs will include, but are not limited to, a fee equivalent to one month’s rent.
Seattle office: 3509 Fremont Ave N #300 - Seattle WA 98103 Phone: 206-315-4628 © Pointe3 Real Estate LLC v03.08.21
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After Tenancy 1. What are my responsibilities when I leave the property? When you’re vacating the property, you’re responsible for leaving it in the same condition as when you moved in, less normal wear and tear. Here are a couple of suggestions that we have to help get the property back to move-in condition: o Remove ALL items from the property, including anything in the storage and/or parking spaces. o Professionally clean all the carpets and provide a copy of the receipt to your landlord. o Repair any holes using drywall mud only (no spackle) and touch-up paint, if needed. o Hire a cleaning company to “deep clean” the property upon vacating. (You are more than welcome to clean yourself, but please beware that the definition of “clean” differs from person to person!) o Address and repair or replace any items damaged during the duration of the lease. If you don’t have the resources or time for the repair, please let us know so that the issue can be addressed in a timely matter. o Make sure to return ALL keys/remotes/fobs. If you don’t, you may be responsible for replacement costs. o Notify the appropriate utility companies that you’ll be vacating the property. It’s important to let them all know within a week of vacating, otherwise you may incur additional charges in your name. o Sign up for a mail-forwarding service.
2. What does ‘normal wear and tear’ mean? Damage versus normal wear and tear is often a point of disagreement between landlords and tenants. Below are examples of what the courts often distinguish as normal wear and tear versus damage: Wear & Tear o Worn out keys o Loose or stubborn door lock o Loose hinges or handles on doors o Worn carpeting o Carpet seam unglued o Slightly scuffed wood floors o Linoleum worn thin o Worn countertop o Water damage (not caused by tenant negligence) o Plaster cracks from settling o Faded, chipped or cracked paint o Loose wallpaper o Faded curtains and drapes o Dirty window or door screens o Sticky window o Loose or inoperable faucet handle o Closet bi-fold door off track
Damages o Lost keys o Broken or missing locks o Damage to a door from forced entry o Torn, stained or burned carpeting o ALL stains on carpet o Scratched or gouged wood floors o Linoleum with tears or holes o Burns and cuts in countertop o Water damage (caused by tenant negligence) o Holes in walls o Unapproved painting o Ripped or marked-up wallpaper o Torn or missing curtains, or blinds with bent slats o Torn or missing screens o Broken window o Broken or missing faucet handle o Damaged or missing bi-fold door o Smoke, urine or pet odor
3. When should I expect to get my security deposit back? Upon vacating, make sure to give us your new address! You should expect to receive a statement and/or a deposit refund check within 21 days of the last day of your lease. If you have roommates, the refund check will be made out to all the tenants listed on the lease and sent to a mutually agreed upon address. For additional info, please consult the Landlord Tenant Laws (RCW 56.18.280) or give us a call.
Seattle office: 3509 Fremont Ave N #300 - Seattle WA 98103 Phone: 206-315-4628 © Pointe3 Real Estate LLC v03.08.21
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Other Useful Information Below you’ll find the following pamphlets: o o o o o o o
US Dept of Housing & Urban Development’s Fair Housing flyer City of Seattle Fair Housing flyer Washington State Law of Agency City of Seattle Smoke Alarm & Carbon Monoxide Information Sheet Environmental Protection Agency’s Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home pamphlet (for homes built in 1978 or prior) Environmental Protection Agency’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture & Your Home pamphlet City of Seattle Renter Handout
For the current Washington State Landlord Tenant Act, please click here. Should you have any additional questions that weren’t answered within this handout, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
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U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY
We Do Business in Accordance With the Federal Fair Housing Law (The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988)
It is illegal to Discriminate Against Any Person Because of Race, Color, Religion, Sex, Handicap, Familial Status, or National Origin
In the sale or rental of housing or residential lots
In the provision of real estate brokerage services
In advertising the sale or rental of housing
In the appraisal of housing
In the financing of housing
Blockbusting is also illegal
Anyone who feels he or she has been discriminated against may file a complaint of housing discrimination: 1-800-669-9777 (Toll Free) 1-800-927-9275 (TTY) www.hud.gov/fairhousing Previous editions are obsolete
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Washington, D.C. 20410 form HUD-928.1 (6/2011)
We Believe in
In Seattle it is illegal to discriminate in the rental or sale of housing because of:
♦ We gladly receive inquiries from all. ♦ We apply fair and equitable criteria when evaluating applicants. ♦ We enforce our rules equally and without discrimination.
Race Color Ancestry Sex Disability Creed Religion Age Retaliation National origin
Marital status Political ideology Parental status Sexual orientation Gender identity Use of a service animal Use of a Section 8 certificate Military status or veteran
♦ We set rents, deposits and fees without discrimination. ♦ We respond to repair requests and other tenant concerns equally. ♦ We provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
If you believe you have been discriminated against: In Seattle contact City of Seattle Office for Civil Rights 810 Third Avenue, Suite 750 Seattle, WA 98104-1627 Phone: 206-684-4500 TTY 206-684-4503
Elsewhere contact U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development 909 First Avenue, Suite 200 Seattle, WA 98104-1000 206-220-5170 or TTY 206-220-5185 1-800-877-0246
THE LAW OF REAL ESTATE AGENCY This pamphlet describes your legal rights in dealing with a real estate firm or broker. Please read it carefully before signing any documents.
The following is only a brief summary of the attached law. SEC. 1. Definitions. Defines the specific terms used in the law. SEC. 2. Relationships between Brokers and the Public. Prescribes that a broker who works with a buyer or tenant represents that buyer or tenant — unless the broker is the listing agent, a seller’s subagent, a dual agent, the seller personally or the parties agree otherwise. Also prescribes that in a transaction involving two different brokers licensed to the same real estate firm, the firm’s designated broker and any managing broker responsible for the supervision of both brokers, are dual agents and each broker solely represents his or her client — unless the parties agree in writing that both brokers are dual agents. SEC. 3.
Duties of a Broker Generally. Prescribes the duties that are owed by all brokers, regardless of who the broker represents. Requires disclosure of the broker’s agency relationship in a specific transaction.
SEC. 4. Duties of a Seller’s Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing the seller or landlord only. SEC. 5. Duties of a Buyer’s Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing the buyer or tenant only. SEC. 6. Duties of a Dual Agent. Prescribes the additional duties of a broker representing both parties in the same transaction, and requires the written consent of both parties to the broker acting as a dual agent. SEC. 7.
Duration of Agency Relationship. Describes when an agency relationship begins and ends. Provides that the duties of accounting and confidentiality continue after the termination of an agency relationship.
SEC. 8. Compensation. Allows real estate firms to share compensation with cooperating real estate firms. States that payment of compensation does not necessarily establish an agency relationship. Allows brokers to receive compensation from more than one party in a transaction with the parties’ consent. SEC. 9. Vicarious Liability. Eliminates the liability of a party for the conduct of the party’s agent or subagent, unless the principal participated in or benefited from the conduct or the agent or subagent is insolvent. Also limits the liability of a broker for the conduct of a subagent. SEC. 10. Imputed Knowledge and Notice. Eliminates the common law rule that notice to or knowledge of an agent constitutes notice to or knowledge of the principal. SEC. 11. Interpretation. This law establishes statutory duties which replace common law fiduciary duties owed by an agent to a principal. SEC. 12. Short Sale. Prescribes an additional duty of a firm representing the seller of owner-occupied real property in a short sale.
(e) The principal personally would not be obligated to disclose to the other party.
(8) “Dual agent” means a broker who has entered into an agency relationship with both the buyer and seller in the same transaction.
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) “Agency relationship” means the agency relationship created under this chapter or by written agreement between a real estate firm and a buyer and/or seller relating to the performance of real estate brokerage services.
(9) “Material fact” means information that substantially adversely affects the value of the property or a party’s ability to perform its obligations in a real estate transaction, or operates to materially impair or defeat the purpose of the transaction. The fact or suspicion that the property, or any neighboring property, is or was the site of a murder, suicide or other death, rape or other sex crime, assault or other violent crime, robbery or burglary, illegal drug activity, gang-related activity, political or religious activity, or other act, occurrence, or use not adversely affecting the physical condition of or title to the property is not a material fact.
(2) “Agent” means a broker who has entered into an agency relationship with a buyer or seller. (3) “Broker” means broker, managing broker, and designated broker, collectively, as defined in chapter 18.85 RCW, unless the context requires the terms to be considered separately. (4) “Business opportunity” means and includes a business, business opportunity, and goodwill of an existing business, or any one or combination thereof when the transaction or business includes an interest in real property.
(10) “Owner-occupied real property” means real property consisting solely of a single-family residence, a residential condominium unit, or a residential cooperative unit that is the principal residence of the borrower.
(5) “Buyer” means an actual or prospective purchaser in a real estate transaction, or an actual or prospective tenant in a real estate rental or lease transaction, as applicable.
(11) “Principal” means a buyer or a seller who has entered into an agency relationship with a broker. (12) “Real estate brokerage services” means the rendering of services for which a real estate license is required under chapter 18.85 RCW.
(6) “Buyer’s agent” means a broker who has entered into an agency relationship with only the buyer in a real estate transaction, and includes sub-agents engaged by a buyer’s agent.
(13) “Real estate firm” or “firm” have the same meaning as defined in chapter 18.85 RCW.
(7) “Confidential information” means information from or concerning a principal of a broker that:
(14) “Real estate transaction” or “transaction” means an actual or prospective transaction involving a purchase, sale, option, or exchange of any interest in real property or a business opportunity, or a lease or rental of real property. For purposes of this chapter, a prospective transaction does not exist until a written offer has been signed by at least one of the parties.
(a) Was acquired by the broker during the course of an agency relationship with the principal; (b) The principal reasonably expects to be kept confidential;
(15) “Seller” means an actual or prospective seller in a real estate transaction, or an actual or prospective landlord in a real estate rental or lease transaction, as applicable.
(c) The principal has not disclosed or authorized to be disclosed to third parties; (d) Would, if disclosed, operate to the detriment of the principal; and
(16) “Seller’s agent” means a broker who has entered
into an agency relationship with only the seller in a real estate transaction, and includes subagents engaged by a seller’s agent.
shall solely represent the party with whom the broker has an agency relationship, unless all parties agree in writing that the broker is a dual agent.
(17) “Subagent” means a broker who is engaged to act on behalf of a principal by the principal’s agent where the principal has authorized the broker in writing to appoint subagents.
(3) A broker may work with a party in separate transactions pursuant to different relationships, including, but not limited to, representing a party in one transaction and at the same time not representing that party in a different transaction involving that party, if the broker complies with this chapter in establishing the relationships for each transaction.
SECTION 2: RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN BROKERS AND THE PUBLIC.
(1) A broker who performs real estate brokerage services for a buyer is a buyer’s agent unless the:
DUTIES OF A BROKER GENERALLY.
(a) Broker’s firm has appointed the broker to represent the seller pursuant to a written agency agreement between the firm and the seller, in which case the broker is a seller’s agent;
(1) Regardless of whether a broker is an agent, the broker owes to all parties to whom the broker renders real estate brokerage services the following duties, which may not be waived:
(b) Broker has entered into a subagency agreement with the seller’s agent’s firm, in which case the broker is a seller’s agent;
(a) To exercise reasonable skill and care;
(c) Broker’s firm has appointed the broker to represent the seller pursuant to a written agency agreement between the firm and the seller, and the broker’s firm has appointed the broker to represent the buyer pursuant to a written agency agreement between the firm and the buyer, in which case the broker is a dual agent;
(c) To present all written offers, written notices and other written communications to and from either party in a timely manner, regardless of whether the property is subject to an existing contract for sale or the buyer is already a party to an existing contract to purchase;
(b) To deal honestly and in good faith;
(d) To disclose all existing material facts known by the broker and not apparent or readily ascertainable to a party; provided that this subsection shall not be construed to imply any duty to investigate matters that the broker has not agreed to investigate;
(d) Broker is the seller or one of the sellers; or (e) Parties agree otherwise in writing after the broker has complied with RCW 18.86.030(1)(f). (2) In a transaction in which different brokers affiliated with the same firm represent different parties, the firm’s designated broker and any managing broker responsible for the supervision of both brokers, is a dual agent, and must obtain the written consent of both parties as required under RCW 18.86.060. In such case, each of the brokers
(e) To account in a timely manner for all money and property received from or on behalf of either party; (f) To provide a pamphlet on the law of real estate agency in the form prescribed in
RCW 18.86.120 to all parties to whom the broker renders real estate brokerage services, before the party signs an agency agreement with the broker, signs an offer in a real estate transaction handled by the broker, consents to dual agency, or waives any rights, under RCW 18.86.020(1)(e), 18.86.040(1)(e), 18.86.050(1)(e), or 18.86.060(2) (e) or (f), whichever occurs earliest; and
(c) To advise the seller to seek expert advice on matters relating to the transaction that are beyond the agent’s expertise;
(g) To disclose in writing to all parties to whom the broker renders real estate brokerage services, before the party signs an offer in a real estate transaction handled by the broker, whether the broker represents the buyer, the seller, both parties, or neither party. The disclosure shall be set forth in a separate paragraph entitled “Agency Disclosure” in the agreement between the buyer and seller or in a separate writing entitled “Agency Disclosure.”
(e) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing after the seller’s agent has complied with RCW 18.86.030(1)(f), to make a good faith and continuous effort to find a buyer for the property; except that a seller’s agent is not obligated to seek additional offers to purchase the property while the property is subject to an existing contract for sale.
(d) Not to disclose any confidential information from or about the seller, except under subpoena or court order, even after termination of the agency relationship; and
(2) (a) The showing of properties not owned by the seller to prospective buyers or the listing of competing properties for sale by a seller’s agent does not in and of itself breach the duty of loyalty to the seller or create a conflict of interest.
(2) Unless otherwise agreed, a broker owes no duty to conduct an independent inspection of the property or to conduct an independent investigation of either party’s financial condition, and owes no duty to independently verify the accuracy or completeness of any statement made by either party or by any source reasonably believed by the broker to be reliable.
(b) The representation of more than one seller by different brokers affiliated with the same firm in competing transactions involving the same firm does not in and of itself breach the duty of loyalty to the sellers or create a conflict of interest.
SECTION 4: DUTIES OF A SELLER’S AGENT.
(1) Unless additional duties are agreed to in writing signed by a seller’s agent, the duties of a seller’s agent are limited to those set forth in RCW 18.86.030 and the following, which may not be waived except as expressly set forth in (e) of this subsection:
DUTIES OF A BUYER’S AGENT. (1) Unless additional duties are agreed to in writing signed by a buyer’s agent, the duties of a buyer’s agent are limited to those set forth in RCW 18.86.030 and the following, which may not be waived except as expressly set forth in (e) of this subsection:
(a) To be loyal to the seller by taking no action that is adverse or detrimental to the seller’s interest in a transaction;
(a) To be loyal to the buyer by taking no action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer’s interest in a transaction;
(b) To timely disclose to the seller any conflicts of interest;
(b) To timely disclose to the buyer any conflicts of interest;
RCW 18.86.030(1)(f), which consent must include a statement of the terms of compensation.
(c) To advise the buyer to seek expert advice on matters relating to the transaction that are beyond the agent’s expertise;
(2) Unless additional duties are agreed to in writing signed by a dual agent, the duties of a dual agent are limited to those set forth in RCW 18.86.030 and the following, which may not be waived except as expressly set forth in (e) and (f) of this subsection:
(d) Not to disclose any confidential information from or about the buyer, except under subpoena or court order, even after termination of the agency relationship; and
(a) To take no action that is adverse or detrimental to either party’s interest in a transaction;
(e) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing after the buyer’s agent has complied with RCW 18.86.030(1)(f), to make a good faith and continuous effort to find a property for the buyer; except that a buyer’s agent is not obligated to:
(b) To timely disclose to both parties any conflicts of interest; (c) To advise both parties to seek expert advice on matters relating to the transaction that are beyond the dual agent’s expertise;
(i) seek additional properties to purchase while the buyer is a party to an existing contract to purchase; or
(d) Not to disclose any confidential information from or about either party, except under subpoena or court order, even after termination of the agency relationship;
(ii) show properties as to which there is no written agreement to pay compensation to the buyer’s agent.
(e) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing after the dual agent has complied with RCW 18.86.030(1) (f), to make a good faith and continuous effort to find a buyer for the property; except that a dual agent is not obligated to seek additional offers to purchase the property while the property is subject to an existing contract for sale; and
(2) ( a ) The showing of property in which a buyer is interested to other prospective buyers by a buyer’s agent does not in and of itself breach the duty of loyalty to the buyer or create a conflict of interest. (b) The representation of more than one buyer by different brokers affiliated with the same firm in competing transactions involving the same property does not in and of itself breach the duty of loyalty to the buyer or create a conflict of interest.
(f) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing after the dual agent has complied with RCW 18.86.030(1) (f), to make a good faith and continuous effort to find a property for the buyer; except that a dual agent is not obligated to: (i) seek additional properties to purchase while the buyer is a party to an existing contract to purchase; or (ii) show properties as to which there is no written agreement to pay compensation to the dual agent.
SECTION 6: DUTIES OF A DUAL AGENT.
(3) (a) The showing of proper ties not owned by the seller to prospective buyers or the listing of competing properties for sale by a dual agent does not in and of itself constitute action that is
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a broker may act as a dual agent only with the written consent of both parties to the transaction after the dual agent has complied with
adverse or detrimental to the seller or create a conflict of interest.
a termination does not affect the contractual rights of either party.
(b) The representation of more than one seller by different brokers licensed to the same firm in competing transactions involving the same buyer does not in and of itself constitute action that is adverse or detrimental to the sellers or create a conflict of interest.
(2) Except as otherwise agreed to in writing, a broker owes no further duty after termination of the agency relationship, other than the duties of: (a) Accounting for all moneys and property received during the relationship; and (b) Not disclosing confidential information.
(4) (a) The showing of property in which a buyer is interested to other prospective buyers or the presentation of additional offers to purchase property while the property is subject to a transaction by a dual agent does not in and of itself constitute action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer or create a conflict of interest.
SECTION 8: COMPENSATION.
(b) The representation of more than one buyer by different brokers licensed to the same firm in competing transactions involving the same property does not in and of itself constitute action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer or create a conflict of interest.
(1) In any real estate transaction, a firm’s compensation may be paid by the seller, the buyer, a third party, or by sharing the compensation between firms. (2) An agreement to pay or payment of compensation does not establish an agency relationship between the party who paid the compensation and the broker. (3) A seller may agree that a seller’s agent’s firm may share with another firm the compensation paid by the seller.
(4) A buyer may agree that a buyer’s agent’s firm may share with another firm the compensation paid by the buyer.
DURATION OF AGENCY RELATIONSHIP. (1) The agency relationships set forth in this chapter commence at the time that the broker undertakes to provide real estate brokerage services to a principal and continue until the earliest of the following:
(5) A firm may be compensated by more than one party for real estate brokerage services in a real estate transaction, if those parties consent in writing at or before the time of signing an offer in the transaction.
(a) Completion of performance by the broker;
(6) A firm may receive compensation based on the purchase price without breaching any duty to the buyer or seller.
(b) Expiration of the term agreed upon by the parties;
(7) Nothing contained in this chapter negates the requirement that an agreement authorizing or employing a broker to sell or purchase real estate for compensation or a commission be in writing and signed by the seller or buyer.
(c) Termination of the relationship by mutual agreement of the parties; or (d) Termination of the relationship by notice from either party to the other. However, such
(1) A principal is not liable for an act, error, or omission by an agent or subagent of the principal arising out of an agency relationship:
The duties under this chapter are statutory duties and not fiduciary duties. This chapter supersedes the fiduciary duties of an agent to a principal under the common law. The common law continues to apply to the parties in all other respects. This chapter does not affect the duties of a broker while engaging in the authorized or unauthorized practice of law as determined by the courts of this state. This chapter shall be construed broadly.
(a) Unless the principal participated in or authorized the act, error, or omission; or (b) Except to the extent that: (i) the principal benefited from the act, error, or omission; and (ii) the court determines that it is highly probable that the claimant would be unable to enforce a judgment against the agent or subagent. (2) A broker is not liable for an act, error, or omission of a subagent under this chapter, unless that broker participated in or authorized the act, error or omission. This subsection does not limit the liability of a firm for an act, error, or omission by a broker licensed to the firm.
SECTION 12: SHORT SALE. When the seller of owner-occupied residential real property enters into a listing agreement with a real estate firm where the proceeds from the sale may be insufficient to cover the costs at closing, it is the responsibility of the real estate firm to disclose to the seller in writing that the decision by any beneficiary or mortgagee, or its assignees, to release its interest in the real property, for less than the amount the borrower owes, does not automatically relieve the seller of the obligation to pay any debt or costs remaining at closing, including fees such as the real estate firm’s commission.
SECTION 10: IMPUTED KNOWLEDGE AND NOTICE. (1) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, a principal does not have knowledge or notice of any facts known by an agent or subagent of the principal that are not actually known by the principal. (2) Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, a broker does not have knowledge or notice of any facts known by a subagent that are not actually known by the broker. This subsection does not limit the knowledge imputed to the designated broker or any managing broker responsible for the supervision of the broker of any facts known by the broker.
© Copyright 2013 Northwest Multiple Listing Service Revised July 2013 RCW 18.86.120
Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections
Seattle Permits — part of a multi-departmental City of Seattle series on getting a permit
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Residences and Family Home Day Care
When Smoke Alarms Are Required
Updated September 22, 2014
All smoke alarms in new homes must be powered by the home’s electrical system with a battery backup. All the smoke alarms in the home must be interconnected so that they all will sound if one of them detects smoke.
This Tip and the Seattle Residential Code apply to detached single-family houses, duplexes, family home day cares, and townhouses not more than three stories in height. When we use the term, “residence” in this Tip, we mean both single- and multi- family dwellings. This Tip describes the requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in residences and in home day cares.
The Seattle Residential Code (SRC) Section R314 requires smoke alarms to be installed in all new construction of single- and multi- family residences, including townhouses and duplexes, in all home day cares, and in many existing residences, too. State law also requires all existing rental units to have smoke alarms. Every home must have smoke alarms when sold.
Smoke alarms must be added throughout an existing home when a bedroom is added, or when other interior work requiring a permit occurs. If you do not remove interior finishes when you remodel an existing home, and there is no available attic or basement access, these new alarms may be battery operated and function separately from one another.
SRC refers to the Seattle Residential Code (International Residential Code with Seattle amendments).
Where to Put Smoke Alarms
SBC refers to the Seattle Building Code (International Building Code with Seattle amendments). SFC refers to the Seattle Fire Code. RCW refers to the Revised Code of Washington. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are important safety devices. When installed and used correctly, they can save us from the dangers of fire and from carbon monoxide poisoning. Smoke alarms are important in alerting sleeping people to a fire. Carbon monoxide alarms alert us to the presence of carbon monoxide in our homes. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be located and operated so they are effective both in detecting smoke and carbon monoxide and alerting residents.
City of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections
The general rule is that smoke alarms must be installed in every bedroom, outside every bedroom, and on every level of the residence. A smoke alarm is required on each story of a residence, including the basement. When a story is split into different levels, an additional smoke alarm must be installed on the upper level. Although not required, it is good policy to place additional smoke alarms in any areas where someone might fall asleep. Figures A-D below show several typical smoke alarm installations which meet these requirements.
Where to Locate Smoke Alarms Within Rooms A smoke alarm may be installed anywhere in a bedroom. In a hallway, a smoke alarm must be located centrally outside all bedrooms. When a bedroom is on an upper floor, the hallway smoke alarm should be placed near the top of the stairs.
www.seattle.gov/sdci 700 5th Avenue, Suite 2000 P.O. Box 34019 Seattle, WA 98124-4019 (206) 684-8600
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SDCI Tip #317—Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Residences and Family Home Day Care
A smoke alarm is normally installed on a ceiling or high on a wall, with the top of an alarm not closer than 4 inches or further than 12 inches from the ceiling.
Smoke alarm rules are enforced by the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) and the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (Seattle DCI). Failure of either a building owner or tenant to comply with these rules may result in a fine.
Sometimes, a smoke alarm should be placed on a wall instead of a ceiling. For example, in a room with a steeply sloping ceiling, the smoke alarm should be installed on a wall near the highest point of the ceiling within 3 feet of its peak. If there is a big temperature difference between a room’s ceiling and the room itself, this temperature difference can prevent the smoke from getting to the alarm. This can occur when a ceiling is directly under a roof with little or no insulation or when a ceiling has radiant heating. Placing a smoke alarm on the wall avoids this problem.
Figure A Smoke alarms (indicated by stars) must be located in each bedroom, as well as the hallway adjacent to each sleeping area. The hallway smoke alarm must be in a position central to all the bedrooms. Homes with more than one sleeping area must have alarms to protect each area.
A smoke alarm installed in a stairway must be located so that no doors or other obstructions, such as exposed beams, could prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. No smoke alarms may be mounted in front of an air supply duct, or between a bedroom and a furnace cold air return. Figure D shows the acceptable area for a smoke alarm’s location. All smoke alarms should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Smoke Alarms in Family Day Care Centers In home day cares (home day care for 12 or fewer children), the basic rules are the same as for residences. An additional smoke alarm must be mounted in any space where children may sleep or nap.
Duties of Tenants and Landlords In a rental unit, both the tenant and the building owner have responsibilities for smoke alarms. The tenant must keep the alarms in good working order during the tenancy. The owner must install the alarms, inspect, test, and repair or replace smoke alarms when a rental unit becomes vacant, and instruct tenants on the purpose, operation, and maintenance of the devices. The owner must provide a “Fire Safety and Protection Information” document to the tenant, according to state law RCW 59.18.060.11(a). At the time of a vacancy, the owner shall insure that the smoke alarm works before the rental unit is re-occupied.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Tip should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this Tip.
SDCI Tip #317—Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Residences and Family Home Day Care
A smoke alarm must be located on each story (including basements). Every bedroom must have its own smoke alarm. All smoke alarms must be interconnected to sound an alarm audible in all sleeping areas of the residence.
In an efficiency apartment, the smoke alarm should be placed in the sleeping room on the wall or ceiling farthest from the kitchen and away from the bathroom. This reduces nuisance alarms from cooking and bath steam.
Figure D Smoke alarms should be installed at least 4 inches away from corners in order to avoid dead air space that smoke won’t reach. On ceilings, the alarm should be mounted at least 4 inches from any side wall. On walls, the alarm should be mounted no closer than 4 inches from the ceiling and no farther than 12 inches, or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Tip should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this Tip.
SDCI Tip #317—Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Residences and Family Home Day Care
Rules for Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless poisonous gas. Washington State law requires carbon monoxide alarms in most residential buildings, including single- and multi- family homes (RCW 19.27.530). The Seattle Building Code (SBC) and the Seattle Residential Code (SRC) have adopted and incorporated these requirements (SBC Section 908.7; SRC Section R315). Carbon monoxide alarms can be either stand-alone devices or a system that includes separate detection and alarm devices.
You may call either Seattle DCI or SFD with questions or for help in complying with these rules.
When Carbon Monoxide Alarms Are Required Carbon monoxide alarms are required in all newly constructed residences including single-family and multifamily houses, townhouses, condominiums and duplexes. Each residential unit is required to have carbon monoxide alarms. Permit applications for alterations to existing single- and multi- family residences must show that the carbon monoxide alarms are already in place or include them as part of the project.
For information about the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms, or to obtain smoke alarms if you are low income, contact the SFD Public Education Section at (206) 386-1337, or visit its website at www.seattle. gov/fire For information about the location of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and other requirements in new or remodel construction, come to Seattle DCI’s Applicant Services Center at 700 5th Ave., 20th Floor. For information about tenant and owner responsibilities, contact Seattle DCI Code Compliance Program/ Housing and Zoning Enforcement, at (206) 615-0808.
Existing owner-occupied single-family homes are exempt from the carbon monoxide alarm requirement, but the requirement for a carbon monoxide alarm is triggered with any building permit application for work on the home. Inspections are required for permits for interior alterations, repairs or new construction. Every home must have a carbon monoxide alarm when it is sold.
Where to Put Carbon Monoxide Alarms Simply install the carbon monoxide alarms in the area right outside of each bedroom, with at least one alarm on each floor.
Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Carbon monoxide detection systems are allowed to be installed, but they are not required. If a carbon monoxide detection system is installed, it will be a considered a permanent fixture.
Access to Information Links to electronic versions of Seattle DCI Tips, Director's Rules, and the Seattle Municipal Code are available on the "Tools & Resources" page of our website at www.seattle.gov/sdci. Paper copies of these documents, as well as additional regulations mentioned in this Tip, are available from our Public Resource Center, located on the 20th floor of Seattle Municipal Tower at 700 Fifth Ave. in downtown Seattle, (206) 684-8467.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Tip should not be used as a substitute for codes and regulations. The applicant is responsible for compliance with all code and rule requirements, whether or not described in this Tip.
Simple Steps To Protect Your Family From Lead Hazards If you think your home has high levels of lead: Get your young children tested for lead, even if they seem healthy. Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often. Make sure children eat healthy, low-fat foods. Get your home checked for lead hazards. Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces. Wipe soil off shoes before entering house. Talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or chipping paint. Take precautions to avoid exposure to lead dust when remodeling or renovating (call 1-800-424LEAD for guidelines). Don’t use a belt-sander, propane torch, high temperature heat gun, scraper, or sandpaper on painted surfaces that may contain lead. Don’t try to remove lead-based paint yourself.
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Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home United States Environmental Protection Agency United States Consumer Product Safety Commission United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Are You Planning To Buy, Rent, or Renovate a Home Built Before 1978?
any houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains high levels of lead (called leadbased paint). Lead from paint, chips, and dust can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly. OWNERS, BUYERS, and RENTERS are encouraged to check for lead (see page 6) before renting, buying or renovating pre1978 housing.
ederal law requires that individuals receive certain information before renting, buying, or renovating pre-1978 housing: LANDLORDS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure about lead-based paint. SELLERS have to disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to 10 days to check for lead. RENOVATORS disturbing more than 2 square feet of painted surfaces have to give you this pamphlet before starting work.
IMPORTANT! Lead From Paint, Dust, and Soil Can Be Dangerous If Not Managed Properly FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born. FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies. FACT: People can get lead in their bodies by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead. FACT: People have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard. FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family. If you think your home might have lead hazards, read this pamphlet to learn some simple steps to protect your family.
Lead Gets in the Body in Many Ways Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the U.S.
People can get lead in their body if they: Breathe in lead dust (especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces). Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths. Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead. Lead is even more dangerous to children under the age of 6: At this age children’s brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies.
Children’s growing bodies absorb more lead. Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them. Lead is also dangerous to women of childbearing age: Women with a high lead level in their system prior to pregnancy would expose a fetus to lead through the placenta during fetal development.
Lead’s Effects It is important to know that even exposure to low levels of lead can severely harm children. In children, lead can cause: Nervous system and kidney damage. Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence.
Brain or Nerve Damage Hearing Problems
Speech, language, and behavior problems. Poor muscle coordination. Slowed Growth
Decreased muscle and bone growth. Hearing damage. While low-lead exposure is most common, exposure to high levels of lead can have devastating effects on children, including seizures, unconsciousness, and, in some cases, death. Although children are especially susceptible to lead exposure, lead can be dangerous for adults too. In adults, lead can cause:
Increased chance of illness during pregnancy.
Reproductive Problems (Adults)
Harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death. Fertility problems (in men and women). High blood pressure.
Lead affects the body in many ways.
Digestive problems. Nerve disorders. Memory and concentration problems. Muscle and joint pain.
Where Lead-Based Paint Is Found In general, the older your home, the more likely it has leadbased paint.
Many homes built before 1978 have leadbased paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead can be found: In homes in the city, country, or suburbs. In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing. Inside and outside of the house. In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)
Checking Your Family for Lead Get your children and home tested if you think your home has high levels of lead.
To reduce your child's exposure to lead, get your child checked, have your home tested (especially if your home has paint in poor condition and was built before 1978), and fix any hazards you may have. Children's blood lead levels tend to increase rapidly from 6 to 12 months of age, and tend to peak at 18 to 24 months of age. Consult your doctor for advice on testing your children. A simple blood test can detect high levels of lead. Blood tests are usually recommended for: Children at ages 1 and 2. Children or other family members who have been exposed to high levels of lead. Children who should be tested under your state or local health screening plan. Your doctor can explain what the test results mean and if more testing will be needed.
Identifying Lead Hazards Lead-based paint is usually not a hazard if it is in good condition, and it is not on an impact or friction surface, like a window. It is defined by the federal government as paint with lead levels greater than or equal to 1.0 milligram per square centimeter, or more than 0.5% by weight. Deteriorating lead-based paint (peeling, chipping, chalking, cracking or damaged) is a hazard and needs immediate attention. It may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear, such as:
Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can’t always see, can both be serious hazards.
Windows and window sills. Doors and door frames. Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches. Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is scraped, sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it. The following two federal standards have been set for lead hazards in dust: 40 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) and higher for floors, including carpeted floors. 250 µg/ft2 and higher for interior window sills. Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. The following two federal standards have been set for lead hazards in residential soil: 400 parts per million (ppm) and higher in play areas of bare soil. 1,200 ppm (average) and higher in bare soil in the remainder of the yard. The only way to find out if paint, dust and soil lead hazards exist is to test for them. The next page describes the most common methods used. 5
Checking Your Home for Lead Just knowing that a home has leadbased paint may not tell you if there is a hazard.
You can get your home tested for lead in several different ways: A paint inspection tells you whether your home has lead-based paint and where it is located. It won’t tell you whether or not your home currently has lead hazards. A risk assessment tells you if your home currently has any lead hazards from lead in paint, dust, or soil. It also tells you what actions to take to address any hazards. A combination risk assessment and inspection tells you if your home has any lead hazards and if your home has any lead-based paint, and where the lead-based paint is located. Hire a trained and certified testing professional who will use a range of reliable methods when testing your home. Visual inspection of paint condition and location. A portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) machine. Lab tests of paint, dust, and soil samples. There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is done safely, reliably, and effectively. Contact your state or local agency (see bottom of page 11) for more information, or call 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) for a list of contacts in your area. Home test kits for lead are available, but may not always be accurate. Consumers should not rely on these kits before doing renovations or to assure safety.
What You Can Do Now To Protect Your Family If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some immediate steps to reduce your family’s risk: If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint. Clean up paint chips immediately. Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY CAN FORM A DANGEROUS GAS. Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas. Wash children’s hands often, especially before they eat and before nap time and bed time. Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly. Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces. Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil. Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and dairy products. Children with good diets absorb less lead. 7
Reducing Lead Hazards In The Home Removing lead improperly can increase the hazard to your family by spreading even more lead dust around the house. Always use a professional who is trained to remove lead hazards safely.
In addition to day-to-day cleaning and good nutrition: You can temporarily reduce lead hazards by taking actions such as repairing damaged painted surfaces and planting grass to cover soil with high lead levels. These actions (called “interim controls”) are not permanent solutions and will need ongoing attention. To permanently remove lead hazards, you should hire a certified lead “abatement” contractor. Abatement (or permanent hazard elimination) methods include removing, sealing, or enclosing lead-based paint with special materials. Just painting over the hazard with regular paint is not permanent removal. Always hire a person with special training for correcting lead problems—someone who knows how to do this work safely and has the proper equipment to clean up thoroughly. Certified contractors will employ qualified workers and follow strict safety rules as set by their state or by the federal government. Once the work is completed, dust cleanup activities must be repeated until testing indicates that lead dust levels are below the following: 40 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) for floors, including carpeted floors; 250 µg/ft2 for interior windows sills; and 400 µg/ft2 for window troughs.
Call your state or local agency (see bottom of page 11) for help in locating certified professionals in your area and to see if financial assistance is available.
Remodeling or Renovating a Home With Lead-Based Paint Take precautions before your contractor or you begin remodeling or renovating anything that disturbs painted surfaces (such as scraping off paint or tearing out walls): Have the area tested for lead-based paint. Do not use a belt-sander, propane torch, high temperature heat gun, dry scraper, or dry sandpaper to remove lead-based paint. These actions create large amounts of lead dust and fumes. Lead dust can remain in your home long after the work is done. Temporarily move your family (especially children and pregnant women) out of the apartment or house until the work is done and the area is properly cleaned. If you can’t move your family, at least completely seal off the work area. Follow other safety measures to reduce lead hazards. You can find out about other safety measures by calling 1-800-424-LEAD. Ask for the brochure “Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home.” This brochure explains what to do before, during, and after renovations. If you have already completed renovations or remodeling that could have released lead-based paint or dust, get your young children tested and follow the steps outlined on page 7 of this brochure.
If not conducted properly, certain types of renovations can release lead from paint and dust into the air.
Other Sources of Lead Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it: While paint, dust, and soil are the most common sources of lead, other lead sources also exist.
• Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. • Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours. The job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family’s clothes. Old painted toys and furniture. Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain. Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air. Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture. Folk remedies that contain lead, such as “greta” and “azarcon” used to treat an upset stomach.
For More Information The National Lead Information Center Call 1-800-424-LEAD (424-5323) to learn how to protect children from lead poisoning and for other information on lead hazards. To access lead information via the web, visit www.epa.gov/lead and www.hud.gov/offices/lead/. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline Call 1-800-426-4791 for information about lead in drinking water. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Hotline To request information on lead in consumer products, or to report an unsafe consumer product or a product-related injury call 1-800-6382772, or visit CPSC's Web site at: www.cpsc.gov. Health and Environmental Agencies Some cities, states, and tribes have their own rules for lead-based paint activities. Check with your local agency to see which laws apply to you. Most agencies can also provide information on finding a lead abatement firm in your area, and on possible sources of financial aid for reducing lead hazards. Receive up-to-date address and phone information for your local contacts on the Internet at www.epa.gov/lead or contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD. For the hearing impaired, call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 to access any of the phone numbers in this brochure. 11
EPA Regional Offices Your Regional EPA Office can provide further information regarding regulations and lead protection programs.
EPA Regional Offices Region 1 (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 1 Suite 1100 (CPT) One Congress Street Boston, MA 02114-2023 1 (888) 372-7341 Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 2 2890 Woodbridge Avenue Building 209, Mail Stop 225 Edison, NJ 08837-3679 (732) 321-6671 Region 3 (Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 3 (3WC33) 1650 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 814-5000 Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 4 61 Forsyth Street, SW Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 562-8998 Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 5 (DT-8J) 77 West Jackson Boulevard Chicago, IL 60604-3666 (312) 886-6003
Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 6 1445 Ross Avenue, 12th Floor Dallas, TX 75202-2733 (214) 665-7577
Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 7 (ARTD-RALI) 901 N. 5th Street Kansas City, KS 66101 (913) 551-7020 Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 8 999 18th Street, Suite 500 Denver, CO 80202-2466 (303) 312-6021
Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada) Regional Lead Contact U.S. Region 9 75 Hawthorne Street San Francisco, CA 94105 (415) 947-4164 Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington) Regional Lead Contact U.S. EPA Region 10 Toxics Section WCM-128 1200 Sixth Avenue Seattle, WA 98101-1128 (206) 553-1985
CPSC Regional Offices Your Regional CPSC Office can provide further information regarding regulations and consumer product safety.
Eastern Regional Center Consumer Product Safety Commission 201 Varick Street, Room 903 New York, NY 10014 (212) 620-4120
Western Regional Center Consumer Product Safety Commission 1301 Clay Street, Suite 610-N Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 637-4050
Central Regional Center Consumer Product Safety Commission 230 South Dearborn Street, Room 2944 Chicago, IL 60604 (312) 353-8260
HUD Lead Office Please contact HUD's Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control for information on lead regulations, outreach efforts, and lead hazard control and research grant programs. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control 451 Seventh Street, SW, P-3206 Washington, DC 20410 (202) 755-1785
This document is in the public domain. It may be reproduced by an individual or organization without permission. Information provided in this booklet is based upon current scientific and technical understanding of the issues presented and is reflective of the jurisdictional boundaries established by the statutes governing the co-authoring agencies. Following the advice given will not necessarily provide complete protection in all situations or against all health hazards that can be caused by lead exposure. U.S. EPA Washington DC 20460 U.S. CPSC Washington DC 20207 U.S. HUD Washington DC 20410
EPA747-K-99-001 June 2003
United States Environmental Protection Agency
A Brief Guide to
Mold, Moisture, and
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
EPA 402-K-02-003 (Reprinted 09/2012)
This Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation Indoor Environments Division 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W. Mailcode: 6609J Washington, DC 20460 www.epa.gov/iaq
A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home Contents
Mold Basics Why is mold growing in my home? Can mold cause health problems? How do I get rid of mold?
2 2 3
Mold Cleanup Who should do the cleanup?
Mold Cleanup Guidelines
What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
How Do I Know When the Remediation or Cleanup is Finished?
Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips Actions that will help to reduce humidity Actions that will help prevent condensation Testing or sampling for mold
10 11 12 13
Cleanup and Biocides
The key to mold control is moisture control.
If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem.
It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
hy is mold growing in my home? Molds are part of the
Mold growing outdoors on firewood. Molds come in many colors; both white and black molds are shown here.
natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
Can mold cause health problems? Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold2
allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
How do I get rid of mold? It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.
Molds can gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth. Magnified mold spores.
Mold CLEANUP If you already have a mold problem –
ACT QUICKLY. Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause. Leaky window – mold is beginning to rot the wooden frame and windowsill.
Who should do the cleanup? Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, following the guidelines below. However: ■ If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial 4
buildings, this document is applicable to other building types. It is available on the Internet at: www. epa.gov/mold. ■ If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations. ■ If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA’s guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold - it could spread mold throughout the building. Visit www.epa. gov/iaq/pubs to download a copy of the EPA guide. ■ If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water. ■ If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
Places that are often or always damp can be hard to maintain completely free of mold. If there’s some mold in the shower or elsewhere in the bathroom that seems to reappear, increasing the ventilation (running a fan or opening a window) and cleaning more frequently will usually prevent mold from recurring, or at least keep the mold to a minimum.
Tips and techniques The tips and techniques presented in
this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
■ Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. ■ Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Mold growing on the underside of a plastic lawnchair in an area where rainwater drips through and deposits organic material.
Mold growing on a piece of ceiling tile.
■ Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely. ■ Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold (see discussions: What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas and Hidden Mold.) ■ Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel. ■ If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations. 7
What to wear when
moldy areas It is important to take precautions to
limit your exposure
Mold growing on a suitcase stored in a humid basement.
to mold and mold spores.
■A void breathing in mold or mold spores. In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold, you may want to wear an N-95 respirator, available at many hardware stores and from companies that advertise on the Internet. (They cost about $12 to $25.) Some N-95 respirators resemble a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front, others are made primarily of plastic or rubber and have removable cartridges that trap most of the mold spores from entering. In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator. Please note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that respirators fit properly (fit testing) when used in an occupational setting; consult OSHA for more information (800-321-OSHA or osha.gov/). 8
■ Wear gloves. Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. When working with water and a mild detergent, ordinary household rubber gloves may be used. If you are using a disinfectant, a biocide such as chlorine bleach, or a strong cleaning solution, you should select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC (see Cleanup and Biocides). Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands. ■ Wear goggles. Goggles that do not have ventilation holes are recommended. Avoid getting mold or mold spores in your eyes.
Cleaning while wearing N-95 respirator, gloves, and goggles.
How do I know when the remediation or cleanup is finished? You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem before the cleanup or remediation can be considered finished.
■ You should have completed mold removal. Visible mold and moldy odors should not be present. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. ■ You should have revisited the site(s) shortly after cleanup and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth. ■ People should have been able to occupy or re-occupy the area without health complaints or physical symptoms. ■ Ultimately, this is a judgment call; there is no easy answer.
Moisture and Mold
Control is the Key to Mold Control
■ When water leaks or spills occur indoors - ACT QUICKLY. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow. Mold growing on the surface of a unit ventilator.
■ Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. ■ Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation. ■ Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
■ Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
Condensation on the inside of a windowpane.
■ If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes - ACT QUICKLY to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity. Actions that will help to reduce humidity: Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.) Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed. Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.
Actions that will help prevent condensation: Reduce the humidity (see preceeding page). Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed. Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation. Increase air temperature. Mold growing on a wooden headboard in a room with high humidity.
Renters: Report all plumbing leaks and moisture problems immediately to your building owner, manager, or superintendent. In cases where persistent water problems are not addressed, you may want to contact local, state, or federal health or housing authorities.
Testing or sampling for mold Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to Rust is an indicator that condensation check a building’s compliance occurs on this drainpipe. The pipe should with federal mold standards. be insulated to prevent condensation. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
Mold growing on the back side of wallpaper.
Suspicion of hidden mold You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).
Investigating hidden mold problems Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional. 14
Cleanup and Biocides Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain - these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.
Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.
Water stain on a basement wall — locate and fix the source of the water promptly.
For more information on mold related issues including mold cleanup and moisture control/condensation/ humidity issues, visit:
Mold growing on fallen leaves.
This document is available on the Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor Environments Division website at: www.epa.gov/mold 16
Acknowledgements EPA would like to thank Paul Ellringer, PE, CIH, for providing the photo on page 14. Please note that this document presents recommendations. EPA does not regulate mold or mold spores in indoor air.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Renting in Seattle
1 JANUARY 2021
YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER TO
There’s a lot to do when moving to a new home. Updating your voter registration is one of those important tasks to remember.
ALREADY REGISTERED? Here are 5 easy ways to update your address: • If you have a current Washington State driver license or state ID card, go online! • Mail the registration form included with this Renter’s Handbook. • E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, date of birth, old residential and mailing address, and your new residential and mailing address. • Call 206-296-VOTE (8683). Services are available in 120 languages. • Go in-person to King Coutny Election headquarters in Renton or the Voter Registration Annex in Seattle.
REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS AT LEAST 29 DAYS BEFORE ELECTION DAY. CHECK THE VOTER’S CALENDAR.
NEED TO REGISTER? There are 3 ways to register to vote: • If you have a current Washington State driver license or state ID card, go online! • Mail the registration form included in this Renter’s Handbook. (See center pull-out.)
• Go in-person to King County Election headquarters in Renton or the Voter Registration Annex in Seattle.
What Is the Renter’s Handbook? Welcome to Renting in Seattle. Your landlord is required to provide you with this Renter’s Handbook when you apply to rent, sign a rental agreement, renew a rental agreement or whenever the City of Seattle updates information in it. The Renter’s Handbook gives you a broad overview of both your renter rights and obligations and provides tips and helpful resources to make renting in Seattle a great experience. You should keep this handbook where you can easily reference it. Remember, there is help available when your handbook does not have the answer to your question or speciﬁc situation. The Renting in Seattle Helpline (206) 684-5700 is open Monday – Friday during business hours so you can talk to someone for information and guidance. Language assistance is available This handbook is not intended as legal advice. You can also visit our web site www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.
Table of Contents Finding a Home What to Look For Minimum Standards Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance Fair Housing Laws Get Ready to Rent Rental Applications First in Time Holding Deposits Renting and Disability Rights Moving In The Rental Agreement Move-In Charges Installment Payments Utility Accounts While You Rent Landlord/Tenant Duties Adding Roommates Notices From Your Landlord Rent Pledges Moving Out Ending the Rental Agreement Just Cause Termination Eviction Security Deposit Return Final Thoughts Index
6 8 8 10 11 14 14 16 18 18 20 22 24 25 26 30 32 34 36 42 44 46 46 50 51 52 53
FINDING A HOME
Finding the right place for you is not an exact science and people ﬁnd their homes in lots of diﬀerent ways. Many listings are available for free online. Sometimes, driving or walking around a neighborhood can yield results where ‘For Rent’ signs are posted. Beware of online scams that ask for money or wire transfers. Never agree to rent a place before you see it. If a deal feels too good to be true, it probably is! You can report suspected rental scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumer.ftc.gov. Aﬀordable housing can mean a lot of diﬀerent things. Generally, it is housing that is tied to your income level, often, but not always, based on area rents. Some low-income housing is federally funded and/or provided by non-proﬁt housing organizations. The City’s Oﬃce of Housing maintains a list of search sites at www.seattle.gov/housing/renters/ﬁnd-housing. Often there are waitlists for these aﬀordable housing options. Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) both owns low-income housing units and has a rent subsidy program called ‘Housing Choice Vouchers’. You can ﬁnd out more about SHA at www.seattlehousing.org, or you can visit their oﬃce location in downtown Seattle at 190 Queen Anne Avenue North. You can call the Community Information Line at 2-1-1 for a list of aﬀordable housing providers over the phone if you don’t have access to a computer.
What to Look for in Your Potential Home
Fire and Safety Stairs must be safely constructed and have appropriate handrails. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are required. An exterior door or properly sized window for emergency exit (known as egress) is required in all rooms used for sleeping. There are lots of additional requirements for larger, multi-unit buildings. Security
It’s important to know what to look for in a potential home besides your personal preferences. Seattle has rules for minimum safety and maintenance standards that housing must meet to be a rental. The rules are in the City’s Housing and Building Maintenance Code. The following is a basic explanation of those standards.
Entry doors must have a deadbolt and have a peep hole or window so you can see who is at the door. Locks must be changed when there is a change of tenancy. Buildings must be secure enough to reasonably prevent criminal actions to residents and their belongings.
Space and Occupancy This category covers the minimum size of housing units and includes dimensions of sleeping rooms. It also covers light and ventilation requirements, like windows, fans, and sanitation. For example, a sleeping room must be at least 70 square feet with an additional 50 square feet for each person in excess of two. Structural Elements such as foundations, chimneys, and roofs must be solid and stable. The building needs to be weathertight, damp-free, rodent-proof, and maintained in good repair.
Good to Know! Other general safety things to watch out for in older buildings and homes are the potential hazards of peeling lead paint and asbestos when it is friable (crumbling and not contained). If a unit has bedrooms below ground like basement rooms, are there large enough windows or exterior doors? If not, those rooms should not be advertised nor used as bedrooms, as they do not meet safety standards
Mechanical All housing units must have a permanently installed heating source (space heaters alone are not suﬃcient). Electrical equipment, including wiring, and appliances must be properly installed and safely maintained. The unit must be safely lit and have suﬃcient electrical outlets. 8
Is the Unit Registered? As of 2014, all rental properties in Seattle must be registered with the City in accordance with the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance. There are some exemptions such as housing owned by Seattle Housing Authority or licensed facilities such as assisted living homes. This helps the City ensure your housing is safe and complies with minimum standards. Inspections are required every 5-10 years. You can check if your home is registered at www.seattle.gov/rrio
Seattle’s Fair Housing Laws Seattle’s Fair Housing Laws are designed to ensure everyone has equal access to housing. It is illegal to discriminate in the rental of housing because of: • • • • • • • • • •
Race Color Ancestry Sex Disability Creed Religion Age Retaliation Alternative sources of income
National origin Marital status Political ideology Parental status Sexual orientation Gender identity Use of a service animal Use of a Housing Choice Voucher or other subsidy programs • Military status or veteran • Criminal history • • • • • • • •
Rental Housing Ads It is illegal for a housing provider to, intentionally or otherwise, steer certain renters to or from a rental listing. A listing that says ‘will suit a quiet couple’ is potentially discriminatory because it appears to exclude applicants based on their ‘parental status,’ for example. Landlords must include speciﬁc information when advertising a unit for rent. Advertisements must: • Include the criteria that will be used for screening and the minimum standard to move forward in the application process • Describe all information and documents the landlord will use in screening • Provide information explaining how you can request additional time to complete an application for things like interpretation or a reasonable accommodation for a disability
Source of Income Protections Seattle has protections for renters with a source of income other than employment. Housing providers cannot deny you a rental unit or treat you diﬀerently because your income comes from social security, alimony, retirement, disability etc. or if you are relying on a rental subsidy program like a Housing Choice Voucher. If your landlord has a rent to income ratio requirement they must subtract any subsidy you receive before making the calculation. See pg. 17 for more on income-to-rent ratio.
The following are some of the factors informing a landlord’s consideration: • Nature and severity of the oﬀense • Number and types of convictions • Age at time of conviction • Evidence of good tenant history • Time since date of conviction • Supplemental information Homeowners renting units on the property where they live like an attached apartment or backyard cottage are exempt from these screening restrictions. If you see rental housing advertising that does not comply with Fair Chance housing laws, you can call the Helpline at (206) 684-5700 to report it.
Fair Chance Housing Seattle’s Fair Chance Housing Ordinance oﬀers protections to address bias and barriers people with criminal backgrounds face when attempting to secure rental housing. Advertising of rental units cannot ban applicants with a criminal history. Applicants cannot be screened for a criminal history or be asked about criminal history on the application. Adult applicants may be screened against the sex oﬀender registry. A landlord could potentially disqualify an applicant on the registry only if: 1. The oﬀense was committed as an adult. 2. A legitimate business reason exists. A connection would need to be demonstrated between the policy/practice and the safety of residents/property.
GET READY TO RENT
Renting can be a competitive business, especially for the most aﬀordable units. Being prepared in advance can really help.
• Know your credit score and any potential issues that might show in a screening report. You can manage that information with your application and explain the circumstances to support your application. You can access your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com • Know your rights before you submit an application. • Have the following information ready for your application: • Current and previous address including landlord information • Names and birth dates of all occupants • Employment and income information and veriﬁcation • Vehicle information • References, both personal and housing related • Pet information Housing providers must make clear in advance the criteria they will use to screen your application and the reasons that would result in denying your application. You are entitled to a copy of the screening report. You can only be charged the actual cost of the application screening. The customary cost in Seattle is approximately $25-$45 per adult. If your application is denied, the housing provider must give you a written notice stating the reasons. This is called an ‘adverse action’ notice and is required by both City and State law.
Income to Rent Ratio As mentioned before, a landlord cannot deny you housing because your income comes from a source or sources other than employment. If part of the eligibility requirement is a rent to income ratio, and your income is from other sources or subsidies, your landlord must follow these steps in making the calculation:
First in Time The First-in-Time Ordinance requires landlords to oﬀer a rental agreement to the ﬁrst qualiﬁed applicant who submits a complete application. Housing providers must cooperate fully with applicants using a housing subsidy such as completing required paperwork, etc. Landlords must: • Date and time stamp applications in the order received • Screen applications in chronological order one at a time
Determine tenant total monthly income by adding all veriﬁable sources of income.
Determine tenant portion of rent by subtracting all veriﬁable subsidies received from the monthly rent.
Calculate tenant required income by multiplying tenant rent portion by your ratio. Determine qualiﬁcations by subtracting tenant total income from tenant required income.
• Give applicants a minimum of 72 hours for additional information on an otherwise complete application • Provide 48 hours for a response to an oﬀer of a rental agreement after which time the landlord can proceed screening the next applicant in line
Monthly Income Social Security: $400
One-time Veteran Stipend: $300
Child Support: $200
Tenant Total Income: $900
Rent: $1200 Veteran Assistance Subsidy: $1000 Tenant rent portion: $200
In 3:1 ratio tenant required income is $600 Veteran Assistance Subsidy: $1000 Tenant meets the 3:1 Income Requirement
Holding Deposit (Deposit to Secure Occupancy) When you apply to rent a unit, the housing provider may want to charge you a deposit to hold the unit while screening your application. • The maximum holding deposit a landlord may charge is 25% of one month's rent. A receipt explaining the terms is required.
A reasonable modiﬁcation allows you to make physical changes to the property that are necessary to make the rental property accessible. You are responsible for paying for reasonable modiﬁcations unless the landlord receives federal funds. An example of a reasonable modiﬁcation is asking permission to widen the bathroom doorway to accommodate a large scooter. If you have questions or want to ﬁle a complaint, contact the Renting in Seattle helpline (206) 684-5700.
• If you are oﬀered the unit and decide you don’t want it, you will almost certainly lose your holding deposit. The deposit is fully refundable if your application is not successful or the unit fails a housing inspection connected to a rental subsidy program. • If you sign a rental agreement for the unit, the holding deposit must be applied to the ﬁrst month’s rent or move-in costs (security deposit and pet deposit). OPEN
Renting and Disability Rights Accessibility Housing accessibility allows renters with disabilities to live independently. Grab bars, ramps, extra width for wheelchairs, designated parking are some examples. If you have a disability, you can ask for a reasonable accommodation or modiﬁcation. An accommodation is a change in rules, policies, practices, or services to allow you the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a rental unit. An example of reasonable accommodation is to make an exception to a parking policy so a person using a wheelchair can have a spot closest to their unit. 18
Service Animals Service animals are broadly deﬁned in Seattle and include emotional support, companion, therapy animals, and more. Fair housing rules require reasonable accommodations for service animals. • A housing provider can ask for veriﬁcation of the disability-related need for your service animal, from a qualiﬁed third party such as a medical provider or someone qualiﬁed to verify the connection. • Service animals are not considered pets and cannot be prohibited from rental units. ‘No Pet’ policies do not apply to service animals. • Training or certiﬁcation of a service animal is not required. • A housing provider cannot charge a deposit, fee, or additional rent for a service animal. • You are responsible for your service animal’s behavior and any damage it does to your rental unit and the property. 19
Moving is a busy and often stressful time. Things can easily be overlooked. It is important to be careful and pay attention to the details at this stage as it sets the tone for your entire tenancy. The Move-in Checklist This is an extremely important part of your rental agreement because it is connected to your security deposit. • It should accurately describe in detail the current condition of your new home • Discrepancies should be discussed immediately with your landlord so you are not taking responsibility for damage that happened before you moved in • It should be signed and dated by you and your landlord. Your landlord must provide you with a copy • This checklist will be used by your landlord when it’s time for you to move out to determine if you have caused any damage to the unit Your landlord cannot legally take a security deposit from you without a move-in checklist.
The Rental Agreement
Diﬀerent Types of Rental Agreements Month-to-Month
This type of agreement is just like it states, it renews each month. In Seattle, a landlord must have a legal reason or ‘Just Cause’ to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement and the notice period required depends on the speciﬁc just cause reason. Those reasons and the required notice a landlord must give are on pg. 46.
When you are oﬀered a rental agreement, read it thoroughly before signing. Remember, it is a legally binding contract. • Pay attention to what costs you are responsible for in addition to your rent, such as utilities, and how they are billed • Examine the rules carefully to make sure you understand the policies around guests, pets, parking, etc • Get help understanding your rental agreement if you need to, especially if English is not your ﬁrst language This Renter’s Handbook is required to be provided to you every time you apply to rent a place, when you enter into a rental agreement, or whenever the handbook is updated.
You can terminate the rental agreement with a minimum of 20 days’ written notice before the end of the monthly rental period. For example, if you want to move out in February, your landlord would have to receive your written notice no later than February 8. You might appreciate the ﬂexibility of this arrangement but, be aware that the terms of your rental agreement, including the amount of rent, can change with proper notice during a month-to-month agreement. Terminating Lease This type of rental agreement has a speciﬁc end date and oﬀers no automatic right to renew when it ends. Carefully consider before signing a terminating agreement because you may need to move at the end of the lease period if the landlord chooses not to renew . The terms remain ﬁxed for the duration of the lease unless changed by mutual agreement between you and the landlord. Initial term converting to month-to-month This begins as a lease for a speciﬁc period that automatically renews to a month-to-month agreement at the end. You have a right to remain after the initial term ends unless the landlord has a just cause to end the rental agreement. No rental agreement? It is never a good idea to move into a rental unit without a written agreement. If you ﬁnd yourself in that situation, you are considered a month-to-month tenant by verbal agreement and have renter protections. However, the deﬁnition of a tenant is someone entitled to occupy a rental unit under a rental agreement. While verbal agreements are not unlawful, it may be diﬃcult to prove you are a tenant without a written rental agreement if a dispute arises.
In Seattle, there are strict limits to what you can be charged for move-in costs. Move-in charges cover the security deposit, fees, and pet deposit.
It can be diﬃcult to pay what typically amounts to three months’ rent for moving into a new place. In Seattle, you have a right to pay your move-in costs (deposit and fees), last month’s rent, and pet deposit in installments. A landlord cannot refuse to rent to you because you decide to use installment payments. It is important to remember that in addition to your monthly rent, installment payments must be made on time or you can risk getting a 14 Day Pay or Vacate Notice. The installment payment schedule is based on the length of your tenancy.
• The security deposit and fees combined cannot equal more than one month’s rent • Fees can only be charged for screening (background check when you apply to rent) and/or cleaning • If fees are charged for cleaning at the beginning of the agreement, you cannot be charged again for cleaning upon move-out • Total fees cannot exceed 10% of one month’s rent
• 30 days - six-month tenancy = four equal consecutive installments of equal duration.
• The maximum you can be charged for a pet deposit is 25% of one month’s rent regardless of how many pets
• Month to month = two equal installments
Examples: Tracy is a singleperson household with a dog. The rent for the unit she’s moving into is $1200 per month.
Deposits & Fees
Hamid and Fatima with their two children are a four-person household. Rent is $2,200 per month.
• No installments for deposit/fees if the total does not exceed 25% of one month’s rent • Pet deposit = three equal installments
Last Month’s Rent • Six-month+ tenancy = six equal, consecutive, monthly installments • 60 days - six-month tenancy = four equal payments of equal duration • No fees, penalties, interest may be charged for installment payments • Failure to pay installments as agreed is a breach of the rental agreement and you can receive a 14 Day Pay or Vacate Notice • Alternatively, you and your landlord can make a payment schedule by mutal agreement. Get it in writing.
Tracy’s landlord can charge: • $45 screening fee • $75 cleaning fee • $1080 security deposit • $300 pet deposit
Their landlord can charge: • $90 ($45 x 2) screening fee • $130 cleaning fee • $1980 security deposit
Tracy’s total move-in costs can equal up to a maximum of $1,500.
The family’s total move-in costs can equal up to a maximum of $2,200.
Seattle City Light Seattle City Light (SCL) is the City department responsible for electricity accounts. You can open an account in your own name. You are responsible for letting SCL know when you move out. Failure to pay your bill to the utility or the landlord on time can result in a shutoﬀ notice from the utility and/or a 14 Day Notice to Pay or Vacate by your landlord. TIP: SCL also has discount programs and payment assistance for qualiﬁed customers. Visit their web site at www.seattle.gov/ light/assistance/ or call (206) 684-3000. Seattle Public Utilities Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is the City department responsible for water, sewer, and garbage accounts. Since 2011, new tenants cannot open accounts in their own names. The landlord is responsible for the overall account. You may be responsible for paying the cost of the utility charges if provided in your rental agreement. You should be provided with a copy of the actual bill if the landlord charges you directly. Failure to pay your bill on time can result in a shut-oﬀ notice and/or a 14 Day Pay or Vacate Notice by your landlord as utilities are treated like rent for eviction purposes. TIP: Never ﬂush anything besides toilet paper. Avoid getting grease, hair, and large items down the drain. A plumbing clog is expensive to repair and your landlord can charge you the entire cost if you or someone in your household ﬂushes something other than toilet paper. Don't believe the marketing claims on products for ‘ﬂushable' wipes, etc. Good to Know! SPU has programs to help with utility discounts and payment assistance for qualiﬁed customers. Visit www.seattle.gov/utilities or call (206) 684-3000. 26
TIP: Failure to pay your utility bill on time can result in eviction. TIP: Food scraps and recyclable items are not allowed in the garbage. All buildings should have separate containers for those items.
TIP: Failure to report leaks, running toilets, and other service issues to the landlord promptly can make you responsible for some or all of the cost. Puget Sound Energy Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is the natural gas provider for the city. You can open an account in your own name. PSE has information on their website about programs to assist with bills, visit www.pse.com or call 1(888) 225-5773.
Utility Billing Protections The City's Third Party Billing Ordinance protects renters who pay a landlord or a billing company for water, sewer, garbage, or electrical services in residential buildings with 3 or more units. If you do not get the required billing information or you think you are charged improperly, you should ﬁrst talk to your landlord or the billing company. Complaints of violations are made to the: Oﬃce of the Hearing Examiner Seattle Municipal Tower 700 5th Ave Suite 4000 Seattle, WA 98104
#Bank 0000 0000 0000 0000 00/00
You can contact the hearing examiner at (206) 684-0521 or e-mail Hearing.Examiner@seattle.gov Learn more about the code: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/HearingExaminer/ResidentialThirdPartyBillingQuestionsandAnswers.pdf 27
What should a tenant’s utility bill include?
Common Examples of Utility Billing
In some rentals, you pay for utilities (such as water) to the landlord or a billing company, rather than directly to the utility. The City's Third Party Billing Ordinance protects renters who pay a landlord or a billing company for water, sewer, garbage, or electrical services in residential buildings with 3 or more units.
The way your utilities are billed should be explained in your rental agreement. Here are some common ways tenants pay for utilities.
What should a tenant’s utility bill include?
Renting a single-family home with gas, electric, and water/sewer/garbage accounts not included in rent.
• The name, business address, and telephone number of the landlord or third-party billing agent, whichever one sent the bill to the tenant • The basis for each separate charge, including service charges and late fees, if any, as a line item, and the total amount of the bill • If the units are sub-metered (each unit has its own meter), the current and previous meter readings, the current read date, and the amount consumed
Electric: Tenant has bill in their name, and pays the bill directly to SCL Gas: Tenant has bill in their name, and pays the bill directly to PSE Water, Sewer, Garbage: Bill is in property owner’s name, but a copy of the bill is sent to the tenant, and the tenant pays the bill directly to SPU
• The due date, the date upon which the bill becomes overdue, the amount of any late charges or penalties that may apply, and the date upon which such late charges or penalties may be imposed • Any past-due dollar amounts • The name, mailing address, and telephone number for billing inquiries and disputes, the business hours and days of availability, and the process used to resolve disputes related to bills • When billing separately for utilities, Landlords must: provide an explanation how the bill is calculated and common area utility costs are distributed; notify residents of changes to billing practices; make a copy of the building’s utility bill available to tenants
Unit in an apartment building with utilities not included in rent. Electric: Tenant has the bill in their name and pays the bill directly to SCL Water, Sewer, Garbage: A third party company uses the information on the building’s SPU bill and divides it proportionally to building units based on the number of people on the lease. The tenant pays their portion of the bill to the third party company.
WHILE YOU RENT
Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities according to your rental agreement, City regulations and State laws. Most of these are common sense things and require all parties to act in good faith. In addition, State law requires that your landlord provide you with information from the Department of Health about mold and information about ﬁre safety. Larger multi-family buildings must have a diagram showing emergency evacuation routes. TIP: Keep in mind you have a business relationship with your landlord where both of you can be signiﬁcantly impacted by the actions of the other person. Follow these important guidelines. • Maintain your important documents such as the rental agreement, move-in checklist, and your Renter’s Handbook • Keep communication clear and respectful • Document important communication in writing 30
Repairs Your rental agreement should state clearly who you contact for emergencies and repair requests. Reporting needed repairs promptly is important as you could be held ﬁnancially responsible for the damage caused by delayed repairs you failed to report. State law requires you make a repair request in writing. It’s a good practice to create a record of the repair request which then obliges the landlord to respond. You can also call the landlord if it helps expedite the issue, but make sure there is a written request as well.
• Maintain the building and its structural components • Make timely repairs • Maintain common areas such as lobbies, stairs, and hallways
The landlord is required to start repairs within:
• Control pests • Provide operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors • Provide secure entry locks and keys • Provide common garbage, recycle, and food waste containers
• Keep the rental unit clean and sanitary • Maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors • Prevent illegal or hazardous activity in the rental unit • Observe quiet hours • Operating plumbing, electrical, and heating systems properly • Dispose of garbage, recycle, and food waste properly
If your landlord does not respond or refuses to make a necessary repair, you can contact the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684-5700. • For emergencies like no power or water, an inspector will try to inspect your unit on the same day or next business day and contact the landlord immediately • For other issues, an inspector will call to make an appointment with you to inspect your unit for housing violations, usually within ﬁve to ten business days • The inspector will then prepare a notice directing the landlord to make the repairs
• Pay rent on time and follow the rules of the rental agreement
Good to know! Your landlord has to provide an alternative payment method if you are unable to pay your rent electronically.
• 24 hours if you are without water, electricity, or heat during the winter, or if there is a life/safety issue • 72 hours if your appliances are not working or you have a major plumbing issue with your sink or bathtub • 10 days for any other repair request
TIP: Remember to get a receipt for your rent!
While it may seem justiﬁed to withhold rent when your landlord is not responsive nor making necessary repairs, it is not advisable. Though the State’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act discusses repair and deduct remedies for tenants, it is a very speciﬁc process and a big risk to withhold rent because the landlord might choose to evict for non-payment. Make a complaint to the City by calling the helpline and consult an attorney before exercising any rights that potentially jeopardize your tenancy 33
Seattle housing can be expensive and ﬁnding an aﬀordable place to call home in the city can be a real challenge. You can add roommates to your household which may help if you ﬁnd yourself struggling to meet your housing costs. Be cautious when adding a new roommate, it could prove complicated and diﬃcult removing them if the arrangement does not go well. Remember everyone who pays rent has rights. Additionally, your housing could be jeopardized if the landlord decides to evict your roommate. It’s good practice to work with your landlord when you want to bring in a roommate. You can add: • Immediate family • One additional non-family roommate • Immediate family of the additional roommate
There are important steps and timelines you must follow to bring in a roommate. You must inform your landlord in writing within 30 days of adding someone to your household. Your landlord can screen the new household member using the same screening criteria originally used for your rental application. · A non-family roommate (a) can be screened and (b) can be denied occupancy based on screening • Immediate family (a) can be screened and (b) cannot be denied occupancy. Screening charges are allowed in compliance with the Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance (SMC 7.24) and the state landlord tenant act. • The landlord can require a non-family roommate to join the rental agreement with 30-days written notice. • If the roommate does not join the rental agreement in 30 days, they must vacate within 15 days. (45 days total) • Immediate family cannot be required to join a rental agreement nor be denied occupancy. Except for a screening fee, no other move-in charges can be applied to the added household member. All original terms of the rental agreement remain the same.
• Any other roommates that the landlord agrees to • Not to exceed legal occupancy standards Immediate family is broadly deﬁned to include: Spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, adult persons related by marriage, siblings, persons 16 years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, and persons who have a parent-child relationship, including parents, stepparents, grandparents, adoptive parents, guardians, foster parents, or custodians of minors. For purposes of this deﬁnition, "dating relationship" means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors a court may consider in determining the existence of a dating relationship include: (a) the length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties. 34
Notices from Your Landlord There are several kinds of notices you can receive from your landlord, some more urgent than others. • Consider any written notice from the landlord important and worth your immediate attention. Review it right away and take quick action if necessary. • Notices requiring action usually provide a short window of time to comply. Not responding in time may lead to serious consequences, such as eviction. • Notices from your landlord must comply with both State and City regulations. • Notices that impact tenants’ rights such as: • Notices to terminate, quit, comply and/or vacate • Notice to increase housing costs (rent etc.) • Notices to enter must include the following language: If you need help understanding this notice or information about your renter rights, call the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684- 5700 or visit the web site at www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.
Your landlord must have registered your rental unit with the City before they can issue a notice unless the unit is exempt. Call the Renting in Seattle Helpline (206) 684-5700 if you would like assistance reviewing a notice. You can also call 2-1-1 for information about free or low-cost legal services. The following are the most common types of notices.
Notice of a Housing Cost Increase "Housing costs" include rent and any monthly fees you pay your landlord, like storage or parking. Utility charges based on usage are not included in this type of notice. An exception is if your landlord was previously responsible for paying them and now wants to charge utilities directly to you. In that case, the landlord is required to give you notice of this type of housing cost increase. If you already pay for utilities, but there is going to be a change in the billing, like paying a diﬀerent company, for example, your landlord is required to provide you with a 30-day notice to change your rental terms. If you have a lease agreement for a speciﬁc term, the landlord cannot change your housing costs for the duration of that term. If your rental agreement gives you the choice to stay as a month-to-month tenant at the end of the term, and the landlord wants to increase your housing costs at that time, the landlord must send you a housing cost increase notice before the term expires. • The landlord must give you written notice a minimum of 60 days prior to a housing cost increase not to include the day of service. • The notice must include language about how to contact the Renting in Seattle Helpline and web site for information about your renter rights. Notices that do not include this information cannot be enforced in Seattle. • It is important to contact the Renting in Seattle Helpline at the time you receive the notice of increase if it is deﬁcient. Paying the new increase likely means you agreed to it. • Increases can only begin at the start of a rental period. For example, if your rent is due on the 1st of the month and your landlord gives you a 60-day notice of rent increase on January 5th, the earliest the increase could take eﬀect would be April 1st as there would not be a minimum of 60 days before March 1st . • No increase can take eﬀect if your rental unit does not meet the minimum housing code requirements under the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance. See www.seattle.gov/rrio and search under rental registration. You must notify your landlord in writing and contact the Renting in Seattle Helpline to schedule an inspection prior to when the increase goes into eﬀect.
Notice of Changes to the Terms of Your Rental Agreement If you signed a lease , the terms cannot change until the lease expires unless both you and your landlord agree otherwise. If you have a month-to-month rental agreement, the landlord can change the terms with a notice 30 days before the start of a new rental period. Changes might include rules around smoking, guests, or pets to name some examples. Any changes that increase your housing costs must comply with the housing cost increase notice requirements.
If the date or time does not work for you and you have a valid reason for not wanting to give the landlord access, you should provide dates and times that will work. A valid reason might be that you have already planned a family event in your home at that time or you want to be there during the access and need more notice to take time oﬀ work. Your landlord could issue you a 10 Day Notice to Comply if you fail to grant reasonable access. TIP: The law requires both parties to be reasonable and act in good faith. You and your landlord should make every eﬀort to have clear, respectful communication. Consider the other person’s needs, and ﬁnd agreement on the reason, time, and manner to enter your home. Make sure you document the communication to show you have been co-operative.
Notice of Intent to Enter Your rental agreement gives you the right to control access to your home. That means the landlord cannot enter without proper notice unless there is an emergency situation. The landlord has a right to seek access for making repairs, inspections, or showing the unit to prospective tenants or contractors. Your landlord needs to give you: • At least 2 days' notice for agreed upon or necessary repairs or inspections • At least 1 days’ notice for showing the unit Notices to enter must include: • The date the landlord wants to come in • The earliest and latest time that they may arrive • A telephone number you can call in case you do not wish to allow them entry on the date or time in the notice 38
In cases of an emergency, a landlord can enter the tenant's unit without notice. Examples of an emergency may include: • A major plumbing leak • A ﬁre • Police wellness check of the tenant (that requires the landlord to allow oﬃcers to enter the unit) In cases of abandonment, a landlord can enter if they have given notice to enter and received no response after several attempts and evidence exists to reasonably indicate abandonment. Evidence of abandonment include two or more of the following: • Your landlord has not received a rent payment • Your mail has not been collected • Your utilities have been disconnected for non-payment 39
Notice to Comply or Vacate (10 Days)
Notice to Quit for Waste or Nuisance (3 Days)
A landlord will use a 10-day notice when you violate the rental agreement. Examples might include:
A landlord will use this 3-day notice in very serious situations, like when criminal activity occurs on the property or severe damage is caused to the rental unit. There is no cure for this notice; the only way to comply is to move out or secure an attorney immediately to defend you in an eviction lawsuit. Landlords must provide a copy of notices for criminal activity to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. There needs to be clear evidence that this type of notice is appropriate for the circumstances.
• Smoking in a non-smoking unit/building • Keeping a pet when no pets are allowed • Creating loud noise during quiet hours The notice needs to state clearly what you have done to violate the rental agreement and what you need to do to comply with the notice. The 10-day period for compliance includes weekends. If you are a month-to-month tenant, receiving 3 or more 10-day notices in a 12-month period can be a just cause reason for the landlord to terminate your rental agreement. Notice to Pay or Vacate (14 Days) A landlord will use a 14-day notice when rent, utilities, or installment payments are late. Those are the only charges permitted on this type of notice. It allows a very small window of time to pay what you owe.
Notice to Terminate Tenancy for Just Cause There are speciﬁc just cause reasons a landlord can use to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement in Seattle. The notice period required depends on the just cause. The Just Cause Eviction Ordinance is discussed under the ‘Moving Out’ section pg. 46.
• You should do whatever you can to pay within that time. • If you anticipate not being able to pay your rent on time, it is usually best to let your landlord know beforehand. Your landlord may even consider agreeing to a payment plan. You have nothing to lose by asking the landlord to work with you; the worst that can happen is that your landlord says no. Often, your landlord will appreciate you being proactive when you have an issue paying your rent if it is not an ongoing problem. • If you need help with paying your rent, call 2-1-1 for a list of resources that may be able to help. See pledges of rent assistance on pg. 42. If you can secure some ﬁnancial help from a third party, it may also give you a little extra time. Pay attention to the date rent is due on your rental agreement. Rent is usually due on the ﬁrst of the month. It's common to see late fees assessed on the third or ﬁfth day. This does not mean you get a "grace period" which is a common misconception some renters have. It just means you can't be charged a late fee until then. You can receive a 14-day notice any time after midnight of the day the rent is due. 40
Pledges of Rent Assistance
Domestic Violence Victim Protection
If you are behind on rent and receive a 14-day notice to pay or vacate, your landlord must accept a written pledge of payment from a third party. A third party can be a church or a non-proﬁt.
• Tenants experiencing domestic violence cannot be held liable for damages to their rental unit caused by their abuser.
• The pledge must be in writing • The pledge must be received before the 14-day notice expires
• The tenant must provide documentation to the landlord that they or an occupant was a victim of domestic violence and the perpetrator caused the damage. • The documentation must be signed by a qualiﬁed 3rd party – Seattle Police Department, Licensed mental health professionals, domestic violence program advocates, clergy, social service case managers.
• The source must commit to paying the pledge within 5 days • The source must not commit the landlord to anything other than providing information for payment • The payment must be enough to allow you to become current on all costs on its own or in combination with other sources of income or subsidies
Good to know! There are additional state laws that require landlords accept pledges of assistance even after a 14- day notice expires right up through the eviction court process. These protections are not enforced by the City. (See RCW 59.18.410) 42
Most rental agreements will state how you must give notice to your landlord when you want to move out. If you are a month-to- month tenant, you need to inform your landlord in writing a minimum of 20 days before the end of the month you want to leave. For example, if you wanted to move out by July 31, the landlord must be in receipt of your notice not later than July 11. Remember if you don’t provide proper notice, you may be responsible for rent for the next monthly rental period.
• Habitual failure to comply with your rental agreement. You have received 3 or more 10-day notices to comply or vacate in the most recent 12-month period for failure to comply with the rules of your rental agreement. Ending the Rental Agreement If your landlord unexpectedly issues you a notice to terminate your rental agreement, review it right away. Notices given in the City of Seattle must comply with both State and City regulations. If you need help to review the notice and to understand if it complies with City regulations, you can call the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684-5700. • If you are a month-to- month tenant or you have a lease that automatically converts to a month-to-month agreement your landlord must give you a just cause reason to terminate your tenancy. • If you have a terminating lease, check where it says how the agreement will end. The landlord may not have to give notice for this type of rental agreement.
• Your landlord wants to sell the unit you rent. This requires a 90-day notice and only applies to single-family dwelling units, deﬁned by City code as detached structures that contain one dwelling unit. If you live in a condo, apartment, duplex, triplex, or townhome, your landlord cannot use this as a just cause reason to end your rental agreement. • Your occupancy of a unit depends on being employed on the property and your employment is terminated. This would typically apply to property managers who live on site.
Just Cause Eviction Ordinance
• Your landlord rents a portion of their own home or an accessory dwelling unit to their own home and no longer wishes to share with you.
Seattle’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance is an important protection for renters because it prevents arbitrary eviction. It requires landlords to have a legal reason or just cause if they want to end your month-to-month rental agreement. Your landlord must give you a written notice commonly called a Notice to Terminate Tenancy and state the speciﬁc just cause. The amount of advance notice depends on the speciﬁc cause. Unless otherwise stated, a minimum of 20 days’ notice before the end of the rental period is required. The following are the only just cause reasons your landlord can terminate your month by month rental agreement.
• Your landlord wants to substantially remodel your unit or the building where you live displacing you permanently. This requires your landlord to apply to the City for a relocation license which is approximately a 6-month process. The license requirements include giving you an information packet and paying you relocation assistance if your income is at or below 50% of the median income for King County. For more details, read the Tenant Relocation Assistance webpage at www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle.
• Late rent: you receive a 14-day notice to pay or vacate and fail to comply. • Habitual failure to pay rent on time. You receive 4 or more 14-day pay or vacate notices in the most recent 12-month period for late rent. • Violation of your rental agreement: You receive a 10-day notice to comply with the rules of your rental agreement or vacate and you fail to comply. 46
• Your landlord or a member of their immediate family needs to move into your unit. This requires a 90-day notice. Your landlord can be required by the City to certify (sign a sworn declaration) if they use this just cause and you suspect they do not intend to occupy your unit or move a qualiﬁed family member in when you move out.
• Your landlord wants to demolish the property where you live or change the use to non-residential. This requires a relocation license the same as displacement from a substantial remodel. See above. • Your landlord wants to change the use of the building to non-residential. This requires a relocation license the same as displacement from a substantial remodel. See above. 47
• Your landlord wants to convert your unit to a condo or a co-op. These conversions require their own procedure under the Condominium Conversion Ordinance and Co-operative Conversion Ordinance SMC 22.903.030 and SMC 22.903.035. • Your landlord receives a notice of violation for housing standards in a permitted accessory dwelling unit and wants to discontinue renting it. The landlord must pay you relocation assistance in the amount of $2,000 or the equivalent of 2 months' rent two weeks before you move out. • Your landlord receives a notice of violation for an unauthorized housing unit, commonly called an "illegal unit," and must discontinue renting your unit. The landlord must pay you relocation assistance of either $2,000 or the equivalent of 2 months' rent 2 weeks before you move out. • Your landlord must reduce the number of renters in a dwelling unit to comply with the legal limit. This requires a 30-day notice and payment of relocation assistance of $2,000 or the equivalent of 2 months' rent 2 weeks prior to move out. • Your landlord is issued an emergency order by the City to vacate and close your housing unit due to hazardous conditions. The notice requirement depends on the speciﬁc circumstances of the emergency, but it is always a very short period of time. You may get relocation assistance if the emergency condition is found to be the landlord's responsibility. Relocation assistance is adjusted for cost of living each year. • Your landlord issues you a 3 Day Notice to Quit for engaging in criminal activity on the property. The landlord must specify the crime and facts supporting the allegation in the notice of termination and provide a copy to the City.
Good to Know!
Your just cause rights cannot be waived. Any rental agreement that attempts to do so cannot be enforced. If you are a month-to- month tenant for any period of time in your rental unit you have just cause rights. It is a violation of the Just Cause Eviction Ordinance for a landlord to rely on a just cause reason to end a rental agreement and fail to follow through, whether that means not moving into the unit, not listing it for sale, etc. Fines and penalties will apply, and renters have the right to sue for $2,000 in damages in Small Claims Court. Notices to terminate a tenancy must include speciﬁc language and information. If you receive a notice, contact the Renting in Seattle Helpline at (206) 684-5700 for help to determine if it is a proper notice. Winter Eviction The winter eviction bill exists to protect vulnerable renters in Seattle from being made homeless during the coldest weather months. Between December 1st and March 1st moderate income households can use the bill as a defense to eviction except for the following: • The landlord owns less than four rental units within the City of Seattle. • The owner or a member of their immediate family needs to occupy the rental unit • The owner wishes to sell the rental unit • The owner is required to discontinue renting the unit by the City • Drug-related or criminal activity • Unlawful business and or unsafe conduct that poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of other renters and or the landlord If you need help with rent assistance call 2-1-1 for a comprehensive referral list to agencies with funds and other resources.
Return of Your Security Deposit
Unlawful Detainer Eviction An eviction, or unlawful detainer, is the legal process a landlord must follow to ask a court to restore their possessory right to a rental unit. It is illegal for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant without going through the unlawful detainer process. Actions like changing the locks, removing tenant's belongings, or disconnecting utilities are all strictly prohibited. Before the court process can begin, the landlord must ﬁrst give you a notice. The notice may attempt to end your rental agreement for just cause, collect late rent, or enforce the rules of your rental agreement. See types of notices pg. 36 If you fail to comply with a valid notice, the landlord can then proceed with an unlawful detainer, which is an eviction lawsuit. The landlord must attempt to serve you a court document called a "Summons and Complaint" that explains they are asking the court to evict you in an "unlawful detainer" lawsuit and states the reasons why. It is extremely important that you seek advice from a qualiﬁed attorney immediately after receiving a "Summons and Complaint." The document will contain a deadline for your response. If you do not respond by that deadline, you might be evicted by default. Contact an attorney through the 2-1-1 Community Information Line or visit the Housing Justice Project at www.kcba.org. 50
When you move out, you must return the rental unit to the same condition you rented it except for reasonable wear and tear. Reasonable wear and tear naturally occurs over time through normal usage. Examples are paint fading, scuﬀ marks on linoleum, wear patterns on carpet, etc. Damage, on the other hand, generally occurs suddenly and as a result of negligence, misuse, or by accident. Examples are holes in the wall, broken windows, or burn marks on surfaces. Your landlord must use the checklist you both signed at the time you moved in to determine if you are responsible for damage to the unit. The landlord is not required to do an exit walk-through with you, but you can ask for one if you think it's useful. It's always a good idea to take pictures of the unit to document the condition you returned it in, including cleanliness. If your landlord charged you for cleaning when you moved in, you cannot be charged for cleaning at move out. If you owe outstanding utility charges, your deposit may be used to cover those. • Your landlord has 21 days from your move-out to return your deposit and/or provide you with a statement specifying the basis for retaining any portion of your deposit. Be sure to return all keys to clearly signal that you are restoring possession to the owner. • If the landlord needs additional time to get quotes for repair or for a ﬁnal utility bill to arrive, they must notify you within the 21-day period. • Your landlord must consider depreciated value when calculating deductions for damage. For example, the age, condition and useful life remaining of ﬂooring, appliances etc. must be factored into assessing charges for damage. • It's your responsibility to provide your landlord a correct mailing address for your deposit refund. If you don’t, the landlord must use your last known mailing address.
Final Thoughts Our homes are fundamental to our sense of security and quality of life. Regulations and fair housing laws exist to protect your right to a safe and healthy environment where you are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of your home. Having a positive business-like relationship with your landlord contributes to the stability of your rental agreement. Sometimes when conﬂicts arise, you may have reason to seek information, guidance and even intervention. The Renting in Seattle Helpline (206) 684-5700 is your valuable resource for help whether you are just looking for information or you are ready to make a complaint. The City protects your ability to exercise your renter rights. Your landlord cannot prevent you from communicating and organizing with other tenants in your building, distributing leaﬂets or holding meetings. Retaliation by your landlord for exercising your housing rights is strictly prohibited and could result in ﬁnes, penalties and/or investigation. We hope this Renter’s Handbook is a useful reference tool. Being informed about your rights and responsibilities is important for the success of your renting experience. Everyone deserves a happy and healthy home.
Adverse action pg.14
Moving in pg.21
Deposit return pg.51
Affordable housing pg.7 Application Rental housing ads pg.11
Cleaning Move-in charges pg.24 Deposit return pg.51
Fair Chance Housing pg.12
Common areas pg.32
Get ready to rent pg.14
Criminal history pg.12-13
First in time pg.16
Income to rent ratio pg.17
Source of income protection pg.11-12
Holding deposit pg.18
Service Animals pg.19
Service animals pg.19
Adding roommates pg.35
Just cause pg.41, 46-49
Winter eviction pg.49
Fair chance housing pg.12
Unlawful detainer pg.50
Screening report pg.24 Carbon monoxide detectors Minimum standards pg.9 Landlord/tenant duties pg.32
Fair Housing Discrimination pg.11 Service animals pg.19 Fees
Minimum standards pg.8-9
Reasonable Modifications pg.18
Types of rental agreements pg.23
Holding deposit to secure occupancy pg.18
First in time pg.16
Notices from your landlord pg.37-41
Landlord/tenant duties pg.33
Holding deposit to secure occupancy pg.18
Moving out pg.44
Late fees pg.28, 40
Just Cause Eviction pg.46-49
Rental Agreement Renter’s Handbook pg.3 First in time pg.16
Fees pg.24 Adding roommates pg.35 Seattle City Light pg.26
Holding deposit to secure occupancy pg.18 Seattle Housing Authority (SHA)
Installment payments pg.25
Affordable housing pg.6
Landlord/tenant duties pg.32
Adding roommates pg.35
Types of pg.22-23
Is the unit registered pg.10
Utility billing pg.26-27
Seattle Public Utilities pg.26
Landlord/tenant duties pg.30-33
Holding Deposit pg. 18 Housing Building and Maintenance Code (HBMC) - see Minimum standards Housing Choice Voucher
Occupancy Minimum standards pg.10
Notices from your landlord pg.37-41
Holding deposit to secure occupancy pg.18
Adding roommates pg.34-35
Just cause eviction pg.44-49
Move-in checklist pg.21
Unlawful detainer pg.50
Move-in charges pg.24
Seattle Housing Authority pg.6
Pet deposit pg.24-25
Puget Sound Energy pg.27
Source of income protections pg.12
Housing cost increase pg.37
Income to Rent Ratio
Rental housing ads pg. 11
Installment payments pg.25 Return pg.51 Service animals pg.19 Smoke detectors
Source of income protections pg.12
Landlord/tenant duties pg.32-33
Minimum standards pg.9
Service animals pg.19
Notice to enter pg.38
Landlord/tenant duties pg.32
Installment Payments pg.25
Source of Income Protections pg.12
Landlord Duties pg.32
Renter’s Handbook pg.5
Third Party Billing pg.27-28
Lead paint pg.9
Tenant organizing pg.52
Lease - see Rental agreement
HELPLINE: (206) 684-5700 www.seattle.gov/rentinginseattle
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Klickitat County 205 S Columbus, Stop 2 Goldendale, WA 98620 (509) 773- 4001
San Juan County PO Box 638 Friday Harbor, WA 98250-0638 (360) 378-3357
Walla Walla County PO Box 2176 Walla Walla, WA 99362-0356 (509) 524-2530
Clallam County 223 E 4th St, Ste 1 Port Angeles, WA 98362 (360) 417-2221
Grant County PO Box 37 Ephrata, WA 98823 (509) 754-2011ext. 2793
Lewis County PO Box 29 Chehalis, WA 98532-0029 (360) 740-1278
Skagit County PO Box 1306 Mount Vernon, WA 98273-1306 (360) 416-1702
Whatcom County PO Box 369 Bellingham, WA 98227-0369 (360) 778-5102
Clark County PO Box 8815 Vancouver, WA 98666-8815 (360) 397-2345
Grays Harbor County 100 W Broadway, Ste 2 Montesano, WA 98563 (360) 964-1556
Lincoln County PO Box 28 Davenport, WA 99122-0028 (509) 725-4971
Skamania County PO Box 790, Elections Dept Stevenson, WA 98648-0790 (509) 427-3730
Whitman County PO Box 191 Colfax, WA 99111 (509) 397-5284
Columbia County 341 E Main St, Ste 3 Dayton, WA 99328 (509) 382- 4541
Island County PO Box 1410 Coupeville, WA 98239 (360) 679-7366
Mason County PO Box 400 Shelton, WA 98584 (360) 427-9670 ext 469
Snohomish County 3000 Rockefeller Ave, MS 505 Everett, WA 98201-4060 (425) 388-3444
Yakima County PO Box 12570 Yakima, WA 98909-2570 (509) 574-1340
Cowlitz County 207 4th Ave N, Rm 107 Kelso, WA 98626-4124 (360) 577-3005
Jefferson County PO Box 563 Port Townsend, WA 98368-0563 (360) 385-9119
Okanogan County PO Box 1010 Okanogan, WA 98840-1010 (509) 422-7240
Spokane County 1033 W Gardner Ave Spokane, WA 99260 (509) 477-2320
WA State Elections Division PO Box 40229 Olympia, WA 98504-0229 (800) 448-4881
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Adams County 210 W Broadway, Ste 200 Ritzville, WA 99169 (509) 659-3249