HOUSE BILL 1300
State of Washington
2021 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Thai, Chopp, Ramel, Simmons, Fitzgibbon, Peterson, Davis, Macri, Pollet, Slatter, Stonier, and Taylor
Read first time 01/19/21.Referred to Committee on Housing, Human Services & Veterans.
AN ACT Relating to documentation and processes governing landlords' claims for damage to residential premises; amending RCW 59.18.260
, and 59.18.130
; reenacting and amending RCW 59.18.030
; and creating a new section.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
and 2019 c 356 s 5, 2019 c 232 s 24, and 2019 c 23 s 1 are each reenacted and amended to read as follows:
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Active duty" means service authorized by the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, or the governor for a period of more than ((thirty))30 consecutive days.
(2) "Certificate of inspection" means an unsworn statement, declaration, verification, or certificate made in accordance with the requirements of chapter 5.50
RCW by a qualified inspector that states that the landlord has not failed to fulfill any substantial obligation imposed under RCW 59.18.060
that endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant, including (a) structural members that are of insufficient size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety, (b) exposure of the occupants to the weather, (c) plumbing and sanitation defects that directly expose the occupants to the risk of illness or injury, (d) not providing facilities adequate to supply heat and water and hot water as reasonably required by the tenant, (e) providing heating or ventilation systems that are not functional or are hazardous, (f) defective, hazardous, or missing electrical wiring or electrical service, (g) defective or hazardous exits that increase the risk of injury to occupants, and (h) conditions that increase the risk of fire.
(3) "Commercially reasonable manner," with respect to a sale of a deceased tenant's personal property, means a sale where every aspect of the sale, including the method, manner, time, place, and other terms, must be commercially reasonable. If commercially reasonable, a landlord may sell the tenant's property by public or private proceedings, by one or more contracts, as a unit or in parcels, and at any time and place and on any terms.
(4) "Comprehensive reusable tenant screening report" means a tenant screening report prepared by a consumer reporting agency at the direction of and paid for by the prospective tenant and made available directly to a prospective landlord at no charge, which contains all of the following: (a) A consumer credit report prepared by a consumer reporting agency within the past ((thirty))30 days; (b) the prospective tenant's criminal history; (c) the prospective tenant's eviction history; (d) an employment verification; and (e) the prospective tenant's address and rental history.
(5) "Criminal history" means a report containing or summarizing (a) the prospective tenant's criminal convictions and pending cases, the final disposition of which antedates the report by no more than seven years, and (b) the results of a sex offender registry and United States department of the treasury's office of foreign assets control search, all based on at least seven years of address history and alias information provided by the prospective tenant or available in the consumer credit report.
(6) "Designated person" means a person designated by the tenant under RCW 59.18.590
(7) "Distressed home" has the same meaning as in RCW 61.34.020
(8) "Distressed home conveyance" has the same meaning as in RCW 61.34.020
(9) "Distressed home purchaser" has the same meaning as in RCW 61.34.020
(10) "Dwelling unit" is a structure or that part of a structure which is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person or by two or more persons maintaining a common household, including but not limited to single-family residences and units of multiplexes, apartment buildings, and mobile homes.
(11) "Eviction history" means a report containing or summarizing the contents of any records of unlawful detainer actions concerning the prospective tenant that are reportable in accordance with state law, are lawful for landlords to consider, and are obtained after a search based on at least seven years of address history and alias information provided by the prospective tenant or available in the consumer credit report.
(12) "Gang" means a group that: (a) Consists of three or more persons; (b) has identifiable leadership or an identifiable name, sign, or symbol; and (c) on an ongoing basis, regularly conspires and acts in concert mainly for criminal purposes.
(13) "Gang-related activity" means any activity that occurs within the gang or advances a gang purpose.
(14) "In danger of foreclosure" means any of the following:
(a) The homeowner has defaulted on the mortgage and, under the terms of the mortgage, the mortgagee has the right to accelerate full payment of the mortgage and repossess, sell, or cause to be sold the property;
(b) The homeowner is at least ((thirty))30 days delinquent on any loan that is secured by the property; or
(c) The homeowner has a good faith belief that he or she is likely to default on the mortgage within the upcoming four months due to a lack of funds, and the homeowner has reported this belief to:
(i) The mortgagee;
(ii) A person licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 19.134
(iii) A person licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 19.146
(iv) A person licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 18.85
(v) An attorney-at-law;
(vi) A mortgage counselor or other credit counselor licensed or certified by any federal, state, or local agency; or
(vii) Any other party to a distressed property conveyance.
(15) "Landlord" means the owner, lessor, or sublessor of the dwelling unit or the property of which it is a part, and in addition means any person designated as representative of the owner, lessor, or sublessor including, but not limited to, an agent, a resident manager, or a designated property manager.
(16) "Mortgage" is used in the general sense and includes all instruments, including deeds of trust, that are used to secure an obligation by an interest in real property.
(17) "Orders" means written official military orders, or any written notification, certification, or verification from the service member's commanding officer, with respect to the service member's current or future military status.
(18) "Owner" means one or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested:
(a) All or any part of the legal title to property; or
(b) All or part of the beneficial ownership, and a right to present use and enjoyment of the property.
(19) "Permanent change of station" means: (a) Transfer to a unit located at another port or duty station; (b) change in a unit's home port or permanent duty station; (c) call to active duty for a period not less than ninety days; (d) separation; or (e) retirement.
(20) "Person" means an individual, group of individuals, corporation, government, or governmental agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association, two or more persons having a joint or common interest, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(21) "Premises" means a dwelling unit, appurtenances thereto, grounds, and facilities held out for the use of tenants generally and any other area or facility which is held out for use by the tenant.
(22) "Property" or "rental property" means all dwelling units on a contiguous quantity of land managed by the same landlord as a single, rental complex.
(23) "Prospective landlord" means a landlord or a person who advertises, solicits, offers, or otherwise holds a dwelling unit out as available for rent.
(24) "Prospective tenant" means a tenant or a person who has applied for residential housing that is governed under this chapter.
(25) "Qualified inspector" means a United States department of housing and urban development certified inspector; a Washington state licensed home inspector; an American society of home inspectors certified inspector; a private inspector certified by the national association of housing and redevelopment officials, the American association of code enforcement, or other comparable professional association as approved by the local municipality; a municipal code enforcement officer; a Washington licensed structural engineer; or a Washington licensed architect.
(26) "Reasonable attorneys' fees," where authorized in this chapter, means an amount to be determined including the following factors: The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly, the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services, the amount involved and the results obtained, and the experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services.
(27) "Reasonable manner," with respect to disposing of a deceased tenant's personal property, means to dispose of the property by donation to a not-for-profit charitable organization, by removal of the property by a trash hauler or recycler, or by any other method that is reasonable under the circumstances.
(28) "Rent" or "rental amount" means recurring and periodic charges identified in the rental agreement for the use and occupancy of the premises, which may include charges for utilities. Except as provided in RCW 59.18.283
(3), these terms do not include nonrecurring charges for costs incurred due to late payment, damages, deposits, legal costs, or other fees, including attorneys' fees.
(29) "Rental agreement" means all agreements which establish or modify the terms, conditions, rules, regulations, or any other provisions concerning the use and occupancy of a dwelling unit.
(30) "Service member" means an active member of the United States armed forces, a member of a military reserve component, or a member of the national guard who is either stationed in or a resident of Washington state.
(31) A "single-family residence" is a structure maintained and used as a single dwelling unit. Notwithstanding that a dwelling unit shares one or more walls with another dwelling unit, it shall be deemed a single-family residence if it has direct access to a street and shares neither heating facilities nor hot water equipment, nor any other essential facility or service, with any other dwelling unit.
(32) A "tenant" is any person who is entitled to occupy a dwelling unit primarily for living or dwelling purposes under a rental agreement.
(33) "Tenant representative" means:
(a) A personal representative of a deceased tenant's estate if known to the landlord;
(b) If the landlord has no knowledge that a personal representative has been appointed for the deceased tenant's estate, a person claiming to be a successor of the deceased tenant who has provided the landlord with proof of death and an affidavit made by the person that meets the requirements of RCW 11.62.010
(c) In the absence of a personal representative under (a) of this subsection or a person claiming to be a successor under (b) of this subsection, a designated person; or
(d) In the absence of a personal representative under (a) of this subsection, a person claiming to be a successor under (b) of this subsection, or a designated person under (c) of this subsection, any person who provides the landlord with reasonable evidence that he or she is a successor of the deceased tenant as defined in RCW 11.62.005
. The landlord has no obligation to identify all of the deceased tenant's successors.
(34) "Tenant screening" means using a consumer report or other information about a prospective tenant in deciding whether to make or accept an offer for residential rental property to or from a prospective tenant.
(35) "Tenant screening report" means a consumer report as defined in RCW 19.182.010
and any other information collected by a tenant screening service.
(36) "Wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises" means deterioration that results from the intended use of a dwelling unit, including breakage or malfunction due to age or deteriorated condition. Such wear does not include deterioration that results from negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises, fixtures, equipment, appliances, or furnishings by the tenant, immediate family member, occupant, or guest.
and 2011 c 132 s 13 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) If any moneys are paid to the landlord by the tenant as a deposit or as security for performance of the tenant's obligations in a lease or rental agreement, the lease or rental agreement shall be in writing and shall include the terms and conditions under which the deposit or portion thereof may be withheld by the landlord upon termination of the lease or rental agreement. If all or part of the deposit may be withheld to indemnify the landlord for damages to the premises for which the tenant is responsible, the rental agreement shall be in writing and shall so specify.
(2) No deposit may be collected by a landlord unless the rental agreement is in writing and a written checklist or statement is provided by the landlord to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy specifically describing the condition and cleanliness of or existing damages to the premises, fixtures, equipment, appliances, and furnishings((,)) including, but not limited to((, walls, floors, countertops, carpets, drapes, furniture, and appliances, is provided by the landlord to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy)):
(a) Walls, including wall paint and wallpaper;
(b) Carpets and other flooring;
(c) Furniture; and
(3) The checklist or statement shall be signed and dated by the landlord and the tenant, and the tenant shall be provided with a copy of the signed checklist or statement. The tenant has the right to request one free replacement copy of the written checklist.
(4) No such deposit shall be withheld on account of ((normal)) wear ((and tear)) resulting from ordinary use of the premises((. The tenant has the right to request one free replacement copy of the written checklist)).
If the landlord collects a deposit without providing a written checklist at the commencement of the tenancy, the landlord is liable to the tenant for the amount of the deposit, and the prevailing party may recover court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. This section does not limit the tenant's right to recover moneys paid as damages or security under RCW 59.18.280
and 2016 c 66 s 4 are each amended to read as follows:
days after the termination of the rental agreement and vacation of the premises or, if the tenant abandons the premises as defined in RCW 59.18.310
, within ((twenty-one
days after the landlord learns of the abandonment, the landlord shall give a full and specific statement of the basis for retaining any of the deposit, and any documentation required by (b) of this subsection,
together with the payment of any refund due the tenant under the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. (((a) No portion of any deposit shall be withheld on account of wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises.
(b))) The landlord complies with this ((section))subsection if ((the required statement or payment, or both,))these are delivered to the tenant personally or deposited in the United States mail properly addressed to the tenant's last known address with first-class postage prepaid within the ((twenty-one))21 days.
(b) With the statement required by (a) of this subsection, the landlord shall include copies of estimates received or invoices paid to reasonably substantiate damage charges. Where repairs are performed by the landlord or the landlord's employee, if a deduction is made for materials or supplies, the landlord shall provide a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt. The landlord may document the cost of materials or supplies already in the landlord's possession or purchased on an ongoing basis by providing a copy of a bill, invoice, receipt, vendor price list, or other vendor document that reasonably documents the cost of the item used in the repair or cleaning of the unit. Where repairs are performed by the landlord or the landlord's employee, the landlord shall include a statement of the time spent performing repairs and the reasonable hourly rate charged.
(c) No portion of any deposit may be withheld:
(i) For wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises;
(ii) For carpet cleaning unless the landlord documents wear to the carpet that is beyond wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises;
(iii) For the costs of repair and replacement of fixtures, equipment, appliances, and furnishings if their condition was not reasonably documented in the written checklist required under RCW 59.18.260; or
(iv) In excess of the cost of repair or replacement of the damaged portion in situations in which the premises, including fixtures, equipment, appliances, and furnishings, are damaged in excess of wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises but the damage does not encompass the item's entirety.
(2)(a) Not more than 30 days and not less than 14 days before the termination of the rental agreement, or at such other time as may be agreed to by the landlord and the tenant, a tenant may submit a written request to the landlord for a walkthrough of the premises. Upon receipt of the request, the landlord shall make arrangements with the tenant to schedule the walkthrough to occur prior to the end of the tenancy.
(b) Immediately following the walkthrough, at which the tenant has the right to be present, the landlord shall prepare a written walkthrough checklist or statement specifically describing the condition and cleanliness of or existing damages to the premises, fixtures, equipment, appliances, and furnishings. The written walkthrough checklist or statement shall be signed and dated by the landlord and the tenant, and the tenant shall be provided with a copy of the signed written walkthrough checklist or statement.
If the landlord fails to give ((such
statement and any documentation required by subsection (1) of this section
together with any refund due the tenant within the time limits specified ((above
))in subsection (1) of this section
he or she shall be liable to the tenant for the full amount of the deposit. The landlord is also barred in any action brought by the tenant to recover the deposit from asserting any claim or raising any defense for retaining any of the deposit unless the landlord shows that circumstances beyond the landlord's control prevented the landlord from providing the statement and any documentation
within the ((twenty-one
days or that the tenant abandoned the premises as defined in RCW 59.18.310
. The court may in its discretion award up to two times the amount of the deposit for the intentional refusal of the landlord to give the statement, documentation,
or refund due unless the landlord shows that circumstances beyond the landlord's control prevented the landlord from providing the statement and any such documentation within 21 days or that the tenant abandoned the premises as described in RCW 59.18.310
. In any action brought by the tenant to recover the deposit, the prevailing party shall additionally be entitled to the cost of suit or arbitration including a reasonable attorneys' fee.
(((3)))(4)(a) Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the landlord from proceeding against, and the landlord shall have the right to proceed against a tenant to recover sums exceeding the amount of the tenant's damage or security deposit for damage to the property for which the tenant is responsible together with reasonable attorneys' fees.
(b) Damages for wear resulting from ordinary use of the premises or not substantiated by documentation, including the walkthrough checklist if a walkthrough was requested by the tenant, may not be charged to the tenant, reported to any consumer reporting agency, tenant screening service, or prospective landlord, or submitted for collection by any third-party agency.
(c) Any action taken against a tenant to recover sums exceeding the amount of the deposit shall be commenced within one year of the termination of the rental agreement or the tenant's abandonment of the premises.
(5) The requirements with respect to checklists and documentation that are set forth in RCW 59.18.260 and this section do not apply to situations in which part or all of a security deposit is withheld by the landlord for reasons unrelated to damages to the premises, fixtures, equipment, appliances, and furnishings, such as for rent or other charges owing. Sec. 4.
and 2013 c 35 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation, and shall in particular:
(1) Maintain the premises to substantially comply with any applicable code, statute, ordinance, or regulation governing their maintenance or operation, which the legislative body enacting the applicable code, statute, ordinance or regulation could enforce as to the premises rented if such condition endangers or impairs the health or safety of the tenant;
(2) Maintain the structural components including, but not limited to, the roofs, floors, walls, chimneys, fireplaces, foundations, and all other structural components, in reasonably good repair so as to be usable;
(3) Keep any shared or common areas reasonably clean, sanitary, and safe from defects increasing the hazards of fire or accident;
(4) Provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single-family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant;
(5) Except where the condition is attributable to ((normal)) wear ((and tear))resulting from ordinary use of the premises, make repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in as good condition as it by law or rental agreement should have been, at the commencement of the tenancy;
(6) Provide reasonably adequate locks and furnish keys to the tenant;
(7) Maintain and safeguard with reasonable care any master key or duplicate keys to the dwelling unit;
(8) Maintain all electrical, plumbing, heating, and other facilities and appliances supplied by him or her in reasonably good working order;
(9) Maintain the dwelling unit in reasonably weathertight condition;
(10) Except in the case of a single-family residence, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles in common areas for the removal of ashes, rubbish, and garbage, incidental to the occupancy and arrange for the reasonable and regular removal of such waste;
(11) Provide facilities adequate to supply heat and water and hot water as reasonably required by the tenant;
(12)(a) Provide a written notice to all tenants disclosing fire safety and protection information. The landlord or his or her authorized agent must provide a written notice to the tenant that the dwelling unit is equipped with a smoke detection device as required in RCW 43.44.110
. The notice shall inform the tenant of the tenant's responsibility to maintain the smoke detection device in proper operating condition and of penalties for failure to comply with the provisions of RCW 43.44.110
(3). The notice must be signed by the landlord or the landlord's authorized agent and tenant with copies provided to both parties. Further, except with respect to a single-family residence, the written notice must also disclose the following:
(i) Whether the smoke detection device is hard-wired or battery operated;
(ii) Whether the building has a fire sprinkler system;
(iii) Whether the building has a fire alarm system;
(iv) Whether the building has a smoking policy, and what that policy is;
(v) Whether the building has an emergency notification plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants;
(vi) Whether the building has an emergency relocation plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants; and
(vii) Whether the building has an emergency evacuation plan for the occupants and, if so, provide a copy to the occupants.
(b) The information required under this subsection may be provided to a tenant in a multifamily residential building either as a written notice or as a checklist that discloses whether the building has fire safety and protection devices and systems. The checklist shall include a diagram showing the emergency evacuation routes for the occupants.
(c) The written notice or checklist must be provided to new tenants at the time the lease or rental agreement is signed;
(13) Provide tenants with information provided or approved by the department of health about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold. Information may be provided in written format individually to each tenant, or may be posted in a visible, public location at the dwelling unit property. The information must detail how tenants can control mold growth in their dwelling units to minimize the health risks associated with indoor mold. Landlords may obtain the information from the department's website or, if requested by the landlord, the department must mail the information to the landlord in a printed format. When developing or changing the information, the department of health must include representatives of landlords in the development process. The information must be provided by the landlord to new tenants at the time the lease or rental agreement is signed;
(14) The landlord and his or her agents and employees are immune from civil liability for failure to comply with subsection (13) of this section except where the landlord and his or her agents and employees knowingly and intentionally do not comply with subsection (13) of this section; and
(15) 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. The tenant shall be notified immediately of any changes in writing, which must be either (a) delivered personally to the tenant or (b) mailed to the tenant and conspicuously posted on the premises. If the person designated in this section does not reside in the state where the premises are located, there shall also be designated a person who resides in the county who is authorized to act as an agent for the purposes of service of notices and process, and if no designation is made of a person to act as agent, then the person to whom rental payments are to be made shall be considered such agent. Regardless of such designation, any owner who resides outside the state and who violates a provision of this chapter is deemed to have submitted himself or herself to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state and personal service of any process may be made on the owner outside the state with the same force and effect as personal service within the state. Any summons or process served out-of-state must contain the same information and be served in the same manner as personal service of summons or process served within the state, except the summons or process must require the party to appear and answer within ((sixty
days after such personal service out of the state. In an action for a violation of this chapter that is filed under chapter 12.40
RCW, service of the notice of claim outside the state must contain the same information and be served in the same manner as required under chapter 12.40
RCW, except the date on which the party is required to appear must not be less than ((sixty
days from the date of service of the notice of claim.
No duty shall devolve upon the landlord to repair a defective condition under this section, nor shall any defense or remedy be available to the tenant under this chapter, where the defective condition complained of was caused by the conduct of such tenant, his or her family, invitee, or other person acting under his or her control, or where a tenant unreasonably fails to allow the landlord access to the property for purposes of repair. When the duty imposed by subsection (1) of this section is incompatible with and greater than the duty imposed by any other provisions of this section, the landlord's duty shall be determined pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
and 2011 c 132 s 8 are each amended to read as follows:
Each tenant shall pay the rental amount at such times and in such amounts as provided for in the rental agreement or as otherwise provided by law and comply with all obligations imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of all municipal, county, and state codes, statutes, ordinances, and regulations, and in addition shall:
(1) Keep that part of the premises which he or she occupies and uses as clean and sanitary as the conditions of the premises permit;
(2) Properly dispose from his or her dwelling unit all rubbish, garbage, and other organic or flammable waste, in a clean and sanitary manner at reasonable and regular intervals, and assume all costs of extermination and fumigation for infestation caused by the tenant;
(3) Properly use and operate all electrical, gas, heating, plumbing and other fixtures and appliances supplied by the landlord;
(4) Not intentionally or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the structure or dwelling, with the appurtenances thereto, including the facilities, equipment, furniture, furnishings, and appliances, or permit any member of his or her family, invitee, licensee, or any person acting under his or her control to do so. Violations may be prosecuted under chapter 9A.48
RCW if the destruction is intentional and malicious;
(5) Not permit a nuisance or common waste;
(6) Not engage in drug-related activity at the rental premises, or allow a subtenant, sublessee, resident, or anyone else to engage in drug-related activity at the rental premises with the knowledge or consent of the tenant. "Drug-related activity" means that activity which constitutes a violation of chapter 69.41
, 69.50, or 69.52
(7) Maintain the smoke detection device in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, including the replacement of batteries where required for the proper operation of the smoke detection device, as required in RCW 43.44.110
(8) Not engage in any activity at the rental premises that is:
(a) Imminently hazardous to the physical safety of other persons on the premises; and
(b)(i) Entails physical assaults upon another person which result in an arrest; or
(ii) Entails the unlawful use of a firearm or other deadly weapon as defined in RCW 9A.04.110
which results in an arrest, including threatening another tenant or the landlord with a firearm or other deadly weapon under RCW 59.18.352
. Nothing in this subsection (8) shall authorize the termination of tenancy and eviction of the victim of a physical assault or the victim of the use or threatened use of a firearm or other deadly weapon;
(9) Not engage in any gang-related activity at the premises, as defined in RCW 59.18.030
, or allow another to engage in such activity at the premises, that renders people in at least two or more dwelling units or residences insecure in life or the use of property or that injures or endangers the safety or health of people in at least two or more dwelling units or residences. In determining whether a tenant is engaged in gang-related activity, a court should consider the totality of the circumstances, including factors such as whether there have been a significant number of complaints to the landlord about the tenant's activities at the property, damages done by the tenant to the property, including the property of other tenants or neighbors, harassment or threats made by the tenant to other tenants or neighbors that have been reported to law enforcement agencies, any police incident reports involving the tenant, and the tenant's criminal history; and
(10) Upon termination and vacation, restore the premises to their initial condition except for ((reasonable)) wear ((and tear))resulting from ordinary use of the premises or conditions caused by failure of the landlord to comply with his or her obligations under this chapter. The tenant shall not be charged for normal cleaning if he or she has paid a nonrefundable cleaning fee.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. By this act, the legislature intends to increase fairness for all.
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