Know Your Rights

It is important that you know what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant and what is required of your landlord. Here are some areas for you to be aware of.

Make sure to check out the Resources section for organizations in Seattle that assist tenants through their housing experience. 

Fair Housing Act

In Seattle, it is illegal to discriminate in the rental of housing because of race, color, sex, disability, creed, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, use of service animal, military status, etc.  

Property managers demonstrate fair housing by: 

  • Gladly receiving inquiries from all. 
  • Applying fair and equitable criteria when evaluating applicants. 
  • Enforcing rules equally and without discrimination. 
  • Setting rents, deposits and fees without discrimination. 
  • Responding to repair requests and other tenant concerns equally. 
  • Providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. 

If you feel you have been discriminated against, you can contact the Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

Obligations of a Landlord & Tenant

Just Cause Eviction Ordinance 

Unless otherwise noted, an owner must give a termination notice at least 20 days before the start of the next rental period.  

Good causes include: 

  • The tenant fails to pay rent within 3 days of a notice to pay rent or vacate. 
  • The owner has notified the tenant in writing of over-due rent at least 4 times in a 12 month period.  
  • The owner has notified a tenant in writing at least 3 times in a 12-month period to comply within 10 days with a material term of the lease or rental agreement.
  • The tenant seriously damages the rental unit, causes a nuisance (including drug related activity), or maintains an unlawful business and does not vacate the premises within 3 days of notice to do so.  
  • The tenant engages in criminal activity in the building or on the premises, or in an area immediately adjacent to the building or premises.

Ending the Agreement

  • Proper Notice to Leave for Leases 
    • Written Notice: consult language in your lease agreement.
  • Responsibilities 
    • The tenant is responsible for paying the rent for the rest of the lease. 
    • However, the landlord must make an effort to re-rent the unit at a reasonable price.  
    • If this is not done, the tenant may not be liable for rent beyond a reasonable period of time 

Seattle Area Resources