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    Legal Duies of Landlords and Tenants

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    What are the legal duties of landlords and tenants?

    Try to locate WA (Washington) state's landlord-tenant statutes and use that information in your answer. Cite your references, please. (300+ words)

    Any help will be much appreciated. Thank you.

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com April 3, 2020, 6:02 pm ad1c9bdddf

    Solution Preview


    I located the Washington State's Landlord-Tenant Law, which is attached. Let's take a closer look.


    The booklet of the law includes the following topics:

    Who Is Covered By the Law 1
    Exceptions 2
    Rights of All Tenants 2
    Moving In 3
    Types of Rental Agreements 4
    Illegal Provisions in Rental Agreements 4
    Deposits and Other Fees 5
    Refundable Deposits 5
    Nonrefundable Fees 5
    While You're Renting 6
    Landlord's Responsibilities 6
    Tenant's Responsibilities 7
    If the Landlord Wants to Make Changes 8
    If the Property is Sold 8
    Landlord's Access to the Rental 9
    If the Rental Needs Repairs 9
    Illegal Actions of a Landlord 11
    Moving Out 13
    Proper Notice to Leave 13
    Return of Deposits 14
    Evictions 14
    Abandonment 16
    For Further Assistance 17

    You will not be able to cover all of these landlord- tenants requirements, so let's go with some basics, and then you can decide which ones to keep or add.

    Most tenants who rent a place to live come under the state's Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. However, certain renters are specifically excluded from the law. Furthermore, all tenants have rights under other state laws - even those who are not covered by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. For example, under the Landlord-Tenant Law, the Washington State Attorney General's Office states:

    ? Tenants who have signed a lease option agreement but have not yet exercised that option are still covered.
    ? Residents of a single family dwelling that is rented as part of a lease for agricultural land.
    ? Residents of housing provided for seasonal farm work.
    ? Tenants who are employed by the landlord, when their agreement specifies that they can only live in the rental unit as long as they hold the job (such as an apartment house manager).
    ? Tenants who are leasing a single family dwelling for one year or more, when their attorney has approved the exemption.
    ? Tenants who are using the property for commercial rather than residential purposes.

    All tenants have these basic rights under other state laws, regardless of whether they are covered by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act:

    ? Right to a livable dwelling.
    ? Protection from unlawful discrimination.
    ? Right to hold the landlord liable for damage caused by the landlord's negligence.
    ? Protection against lockouts and seizure of personal property by the landlord.

    Under the Landlord-Tenant Law, the landlord has other legal requirEments. For example,

    ?Rent: The rent can be raised or the rules changed at any time, provided the landlord gives the tenant proper notice.
    ? Lease: A lease requires the tenant to stay for a specific amount of time and restricts the landlord's ability to change the terms of the rental agreement. A lease must be in writing to be valid. During the term of the lease, the rent cannot be
    raised or the rules changed unless both landlord and tenant agree. A lease for more than one year must be
    acknowledged like a deed.

    Deposits and Other Fees

    When a new tenant moves in, the landlord often collects money to cover such things as cleaning or damage. The money collected may be refundable or nonrefundable.

    ? Refundable Deposits: Under the Landlord-Tenant Act, the term "deposit" can only be applied to money which can be refunded to the tenant. Typical types of deposits include a damage deposit and a security deposit. If a refundable deposit is being charged, the law requires:
    - The rental agreement must be in writing. It must say what each deposit is for and what the tenant must do in order to get the money back.
    - The tenant must be given a written receipt for each deposit.
    - A checklist or statement describing the condition of the rental unit must be filled out. Landlord and tenant must sign it, and the tenant must be given a signed copy. (The Attorney General's Office offers a free sample checklist for this purpose.)
    - The deposits must be placed in a trust account in a bank or escrow company. The tenant must be informed in writing
    where the deposits are being kept. Unless some other agreement has been made in writing, any interest earned by the deposit belongs to the landlord. For information on returning refundable deposits when a tenant moves out, see page 14.

    ? Nonrefundable Fees: These will not be returned to the tenant under any circumstances. If a nonrefundable fee is being
    charged, the rental agreement must be in writing and must state ...

    Solution Summary

    Based on the attached Washington State Landlord Tenant Law, this details the legal duties of landlords and tenants.