Washington State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation
Learn what types of landlord retaliation are illegal in Washington.
Washington state law (Wash. Rev. Code §§ 59.18.240, 59.18.250) prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants.
Tenant Rights Protected Against Landlord Retaliation in Washington
It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant in Washington who has exercised a legal right, including:
- complaining to the landlord about unsafe or illegal living conditions
- complaining to a government agency, such as a building or health inspector, about unsafe or illegal living conditions, or
- exercising a legal right allowed by your state or local law, such as withholding the rent for an uninhabitable unit.
Types of Retaliation That Are Against State Law
The kinds of retaliatory acts covered by Washington law include terminating a tenancy or filing an eviction lawsuit; increasing the rent; or decreasing services, such as locking the laundry room. Washington state law presumes retaliation if the landlord acts in these types of negative ways within 90 days of the date that a tenant has exercised a legal right, such as complaining to the landlord about an unsafe heater in the apartment.
For advice on how to respond to—and prove—retaliation, see the article Landlord Retaliation.
Washington Guide to Tenant Rights
For an overview of tenant rights under Washington landlord-tenant law, and resources for filing complaints, see http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/documents/1593216300EN.pdf?stateabbrev=/WA/.
Washington State and Local Law on Landlord Retaliation
For state law on landlord retaliation, see Wash. Rev. Code §§ 59.18.240, 59.18.250.
See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.
Also, check your local housing ordinances, particularly if you are covered by rent control, for any city or county rules that protect tenants from landlord retaliation. To find yours, call your mayor or city manager’s office or check your city or county website.