COVID-19 Resources for Housing:

Information for Renters

State, federal, and local laws help guide landlords and protect renters in Renton. Below is general information on important topics and resources for renters.

For immediate assistance, please call 2-1-1 or visit 211.org. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. 

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Rights and Responsibilities

As a renter, you are...

  • Entitled to a livable dwelling and to hold the landlord liable for damage caused by the landlord's negligence.
    State law outlines landlords’ obligations to keep your unit safe and livable. Landlords must maintain their units to comply with all local codes that govern housing quality and provide adequate heat, hot water and locks. They must also maintain all structural components and appliances furnished by them and more. Read the full text of RCW 59.18.060 for a complete list of landlord duties
  • Protected from unlawful discrimination.
  • Landlords cannot terminate tenancies for reasons that are discriminatory or retaliatory. Retaliation is illegal in Washington state (RCW 59.18.240, RCW 59.18.250), as is discrimination on the basis of any protected class status, such as race, gender or disability. Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who use Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers or other forms of government assistance to pay their rent.
  • Protected against lockouts and seizure of personal property by the landlord.
  • It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of your unit, remove your belongings or shut off your utilities, even if you are behind in rent.

    Evictions

    The reason for eviction dictates the type of notice that landlords serve tenants. An eviction notice must first be served properly and the tenant must have failed to comply, pay, or vacate within the specified timeframe. This is not a complete list, but the most common notices to vacate are:
    • 14-day notice to pay or vacate
    • 10-day notice to comply with the terms of the rental agreement or vacate
    • 3-day notice for waste or nuisance
    • 20-day notice to terminate tenancy (a “no cause” notice)
    Landlords cannot terminate tenancies for reasons that are discriminatory or retaliatory. Retaliation is illegal in Washington state, as is discrimination on the basis of any protected class status, such as race, gender or disability. Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who use Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers or other forms of government assistance to pay their rent.

    Repairs

    *Do NOT withhold rent due to unmade repairs*

    Be sure to make your request for repairs in writing. The Landlord-Tenant Act timeframe for repairs starts after your landlord has received a written notice. 

    The timeframes are:
    • Not more than 24 hours where the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life.
    • Not more than 72 hours where the defective condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord.
    • Not more than 10 days in all other cases. Includes landlord duties defined under the law RCW 59.18.060, among others.
    Note: The law requires that landlords begin repairs in this time frame, it does not necessarily mean the landlord must complete the repairs within the above stated timelines.

    Legal Resources

  • CLEAR Line Legal Help (888-201-1014) — Northwest Justice Project’s free legal help and assistance for low-income Washington State residents. Open Mon–Fri, 9:15 am–12:15 pm.
  • Housing Justice Project (206-267-7090) — King County Bar Association’s walk-in legal information and assistance. Priority service for renters facing evictions. Open Mon–Fri, 8–10:30 am, in the King County Courthouse in Seattle and Kent Regional Justice Center. Seattle location also open Mon, 3:45-4:45 pm.
  • Legal Action Center (206-324-6890) — A part of Catholic Community Services, Legal Action Center offers legal advice and assistance for low-income Seattle renters facing eviction, repair problems, deposit loss, subsidy termination, lockouts and other issues.
  • Neighborhood Legal Clinics (206-267-7070) — King County Bar Association’s legal clinics located across King County, NLC attorneys can provide a free half hour of legal advice to renters, regardless of income.
  • Helpful Links...

    Contact Information
    Hannah Bahnmiller, Housing Programs Manager
    Community and Economic Development

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