Washington Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy

Find out Washington rules for how much notice you (and your landlord) must give each other to end a month-to-month tenancy.

Updated by , Attorney

It is easy for landlords and tenants to end a month-to-month tenancy in Washington. (The situation is more complicated when it comes to breaking a fixed-term lease.)

Notice Requirements for Washington Landlords

In most situations your landlord does not need to give you a reason (although acting on discriminatory or retaliatory motives is illegal). A landlord can simply give you a written notice to move, allowing you 20 days as required by Washington law and specifying the date on which your tenancy will end.

Your landlord may legally provide less notice in specific circumstances—for example, when you have not paid rent, when you have violated other terms of your rental agreement (for example, bringing in an unauthorized tenant), or when you have violated basic responsibilities imposed by law (such as by dealing drugs on the rental property).

Notice Requirements for Washington Tenants

It is equally easy for tenants in Washington to get out of a month-to-month rental agreement. You must provide the same amount of notice (20 days) as the landlord. Be sure to check your rental agreement: It might require that you give notice on the first of the month or another specific date.

In some situations, you might be able to move out with less (or no) notice—for example, when your landlord seriously violates the rental agreement or fails to fulfill legal responsibilities affecting your health or safety.

Washington State Law and Resources on Terminating a Month-to-Month Tenancy

Check Washington state law (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 59.18.140, 59.18.200) for the exact rules and procedures for how landlords must prepare and serve termination notices and for any special rules regarding how tenants must provide notice. See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.

The Tenant's Rights section of Washington LawHelp might also have useful information on how month-to-month tenancies end.

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