Washington Month-to-Month Lease Agreement

When landlords want to rent their space, month-to-month leases are often a popular option. However, they must keep some legal terms, conditions, and disclosures in mind with a Washington month-to-month lease agreement. The lease can be oral, but often, it’s easier to add all the required disclosures in a written agreement.

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Washington Month-to-Month Lease Agreement

Lease Termination & Renewal 

  • Landlords and tenants can terminate the agreement at any time with a 20-day notice. 
  • It must be a written notice and adequately delivered to the other party.
  • Any reason that isn’t landlord retaliation is a valid excuse to end this contract.
  • In Seattle, landlords can only terminate the agreement if they provide one of the 16 “Just Causes” defined by the law.
  • This contract will automatically renew each month, as that’s the nature of month-to-month agreements. It only ends once either party terminates it.

Rent Increases 

  • No specific law states how much the lessor can increase the rent. While it’s recommended they keep it reasonable, they can theoretically raise it by any amount.
  • The state prohibits local governments from implementing rent control laws.
  • Lessors must give the lessee at least 60 days’ notice if they want to increase the rent. In Seattle, they must provide 180 days’ notice.
  • However, subsidized rental only requires a 30-day notice period in Washington, including in Seattle.

Security Deposit

  • There’s no limit to what lessors can ask for a security deposit.
  • It’s common for them to ask for two months’ rent. However, it can be more due to a furnished rental unit or the presence of pets.
  • Upon moving in, the lessor must provide the lessee with a written inspection checklist. If they fail to provide this checklist, then they can’t ask for a security deposit.
  • Landlords must store the security deposit in an escrow trust account.
  • They must return the deposit within 21 days of the lease ending, along with an itemized deductions list.

Tenant Rights 

  • The tenant is entitled to an inspection checklist of the unit before they move in.
  • They have a right to a safe and habitable rental unit that doesn’t violate state laws.
  • Lessees can request repairs on damages that they didn’t cause in some form. The landlord must provide these repairs within a reasonable timeframe.
  • A lessor must provide a lessee with at least two days’ written notice if they plan to enter the property.

Required Disclosures 

Landlords must pay attention because there are seven (7) disclosures you must add to your leasing contract and an additional one (1) if the property is in Seattle.

  • Fire Safety: Notice describing all fire safety policies and procedures.
  • Mold Information: Dangers of indoor mold and if it’s present.
  • Move-in Checklist: List taking inventory of existing damages.
  • Agent Information: Name and address of landlord or agent managing the unit.
  • Non-Refundable Fees: A section states whether any of the fees are non-refundable.
  • Withholding Deposits: Explanation of circumstances under which the lessor can withhold the security deposit.
  • Lead-Based Paint Disclosure: They must disclose the presence of lead-based paint in a building. It’s only valid for buildings older than 1978.
  • Renter’s Handbook and Voter Registration Packet (Seattle)