Notices From Your Landlord
Notice of a Housing Cost Increase
"Housing costs" include rent and any monthly fees you pay your landlord, like storage or parking. Utility charges based on usage are not included in this type of notice.
If you have a rental agreement for a specific term, the landlord cannot change your housing costs for the duration of that term. If your rental agreement gives you the choice to stay as a month-to-month tenant at the end of the term, and the landlord wants to increase your housing costs at that time, the landlord must follow the rules below to send you a housing cost increase notice before the term expires.
Notice of Intent to Enter Your Unit by Your Landlord
- The landlord must give you written notice a minimum of 60 days prior to a housing cost increase.
- Increases can only begin at the start of a rental period. For example, if your landlord issues you a notice of increased rent on April 15th, and your rent is due at the beginning of each month, the rent increase would enter effect on July 1st.
Your rental agreement gives you a possessory right over your home. That means your landlord cannot enter without your permission and proper notice unless there is an emergency. The landlord has a right to seek access for making repairs, inspections, or showing the unit to prospective tenants or contractors, but they must give you:
- At least 2 days' notice for repairs or inspections
- At least 1 day's notice for showing the unit to a new buyer or renter.
Notices to enter must include:
- The date the landlord wants to come in
- The earliest and latest time that they may arrive
- A telephone number you can call in case you do not wish to allow the entry on the date or time in the notice
If the date or time does not work for you and you have a valid reason for not wanting to give your landlord access, you should provide dates and times that will work. A valid reason might be that you have already planned a family event in your home at that time or simply that you wish to be there during the access and need more notice to take time off work. You should do this in writing to document your attempts to cooperate with the landlord's request. Both you and your landlord must be respectful and reasonable about access to the unit.
In cases of an emergency a landlord can enter the tenant's unit without notice. Examples of an emergency may include:
Notice to Comply of Vacate (10 Days): RCW 59.18.190
- A major plumbing leak
- A fire
- Police wellness check of the tenant (that requires the landlord to allow officers to enter the unit)
A landlord will use a 10-day notice when you violate the rental agreement or when you owe money other than rent. Examples might include:
- Smoking in a non-smoking unit/building
- Keeping a pet when no pets are allowed
- Sub-letting your unit or a room in your unit
- Failure to pay your utility bill
- Creating loud noise during quiet hours
- Fees for late rent payment
The notice needs to state clearly what you have done to violate the rental agreement or what you owe and what you need to do to comply with the notice. The 10-day period for compliance starts from midnight on the day you receive the notice.
Notice to Pay or Vacate (14 Days)
A landlord will use a 14 day notice when rent is late. It allows a very small window of time to pay the rent you owe. You should do whatever you can to pay within that time. If you anticipate not being able to pay your rent on time, it is usually best to let your landlord know beforehand . Your landlord may even consider agreeing to a payment plan or forgiving late fees so you can get caught up. You have nothing to lose by asking the landlord to work with you; the worst that can happen is that your landlord says no. Often, your landlord will appreciate you being proactive when you have an issue paying your rent if it is not an ongoing problem.
Pay attention to the date rent is due on your rental agreement. Rent is usually due on the first of the month. It's common to see late fees assessed on the third or fifth day. This does not mean you get a "grace period" which is a common misconception some renters have. It just means you can't be charged a late fee until then. You can receive a 14 day notice any time after midnight of the day the rent is due.
Notice to Quit for Waste or Nuisance (3 Days)
A landlord will use this 3 day notice in very serious situations, such as conducting criminal activity on the property or if you've caused severe damage to the unit. There is no cure for this notice. The only way to comply is to move out. Seek legal advice and assistance immediately if you receive a 3-day notice to vacate for waste or nuisance. The landlord should have clear evidence that this type of notice is appropriate.