BILL REQ. #:  S-3128.2 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2014 Regular Session

By Senators Padden and Sheldon

Read first time 01/16/14.   Referred to Committee on Law & Justice.

     AN ACT Relating to tenant remedies upon landlord's failure to perform duties; amending RCW 59.18.070; and creating new sections.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   It is the intent of the legislature to address the decision of the Washington court of appeals in Landis & Landis Constr. LLC v. Nation, 171 Wn. App. 157 (2012) and its interpretation of the Washington supreme court case Foisy v. Wyman, 83 Wn.2d 22 (1973). The decision allows a tenant to state a common law cause of action for a defective condition at the rental premises. The tenant may decide to unilaterally walk away from the lease without putting the landlord on notice regarding the defective condition and allowing the landlord to remedy it.
     By contrast, RCW 59.18.070, a part of the residential landlord-tenant act, gives the tenant a remedy for defective conditions at the rental premises, but requires the tenant to notify the landlord and to afford the landlord varying periods of time to remedy specific defective conditions.
     The court of appeals opinion and its interpretation of Foisy v. Wyman create an irreconcilable conflict between the judge-created remedy for defective conditions at the premises and the remedy created by the legislature in RCW 59.18.070.
     It is the intent of the legislature to establish that the remedy for defective conditions at residential rental premises in Washington under RCW 59.18.070 is paramount.

Sec. 2   RCW 59.18.070 and 2010 c 8 s 19018 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) If at any time during the tenancy the landlord fails to carry out the duties required by RCW 59.18.060 or by the rental agreement, the tenant may, in addition to pursuit of remedies otherwise provided him or her by law except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, deliver written notice to the person designated in RCW 59.18.060(((14))) (15), or to the person who collects the rent, which notice shall specify the premises involved, the name of the owner, if known, and the nature of the defective condition. The landlord shall commence remedial action after receipt of such notice by the tenant as soon as possible but not later than the following time periods, except where circumstances are beyond the landlord's control:
     (((1))) (a) Not more than twenty-four hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat, or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life;
     (((2))) (b) Not more than seventy-two hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord; and
     (((3))) (c) Not more than ten days in all other cases.
     In each instance the burden shall be on the landlord to see that remedial work under this section is completed promptly. If completion is delayed due to circumstances beyond the landlord's control, including the unavailability of financing, the landlord shall remedy the defective condition as soon as possible.
     (2) The remedies provided under subsection (1) of this section supersede those provided under an implied warranty of habitability.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   This act applies to all causes of action commenced on or after the effective date of this section, regardless of when the cause of action arose. To this extent, this act applies retroactively, but in all other respects it applies prospectively.

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