What Disclosures do Landlords in Washington Need to Give Tenants?

Learn about the disclosures that landlords in Washington must provide tenants, usually in the lease or rental agreement.

Washington requires landlords to make the following disclosures to tenants, usually in writing and at the start of the tenancy:

Move-in checklists required?

Yes. Checklists are required when landlords collect a security deposit. If landlord fails to provide checklist, landlord is liable to the tenant for the amount of the deposit. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.260)

Nonrefundable fees permitted?

Yes. If landlord collects a nonrefundable fee, the rental document must clearly specify that it is nonrefundable. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.285)

Fire protection:

At the time the lease is signed, landlord must provide fire protection and safety information, including whether the building has a smoking policy, an emergency notification plan, or an evacuation plan. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.060)

Owner or agent identity:

In the rental document or posted conspicuously on the premises, landlord must designate to the tenant the name and address of the person who is the landlord by a statement on the rental agreement or by a notice conspicuously posted on the premises. If the person designated does not reside in Washington, landlord must also designate a person who resides in the county to act as an agent for the purposes of service of notices and process. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.060)

Mold:

At the time the lease is signed, landlord must provide tenant with information provided or approved by the department of health about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.060)

Screening criteria:

Before obtaining any information about an applicant, landlord must provide (in writing or by posting) the type of information to be accessed, criteria to be used to evaluate the application, and (for consumer reports) the name and address of the consumer reporting agency to be used, including the applicant’s rights to obtain a free copy of the report and dispute its accuracy. Landlord must advise tenants whether landlord will accept a comprehensive reusable tenant screening report done by a consumer reporting agency (in which case the landlord may not charge the tenant a fee for a screening report). If landlord maintains a website that advertises residential rentals, the home page must include this information. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.257)

Tenant screening fee:

Landlords who do their own screening may charge a fee for time and costs to obtain background information, but only if they provide the information explained in “Screening Criteria,” above. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 59.18.257.)

See the Laws and Legal Research section of Nolo for advice on finding and reading statutes and court decisions.

Also, check your local ordinance, particularly if your rental unit is covered by rent control, for any city or county disclosure requirements. To find yours, check your city or county website (many are listed on State and Local Government on the Net), or contact the office of your mayor, city manager, or county administrator.

Finally, see the Required Landlord Disclosures article for details on federally-required landlord disclosures and other information on disclosures about the rental property.

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