As part of our continuing Landlord Tenant Series, we are answering some of your most asked questions. Find out below what Washington landlords need to know about increasing rent.
1. Must a notice to increase rent be in writing?
Yes, the landlord must provide notice in writing. RCW 59.18.140.
2. How much notice must a landlord give a tenant before increasing rent?
In Washington state, a landlord must give at least 30 days notice before the end of the term of the rental agreement before increasing the rent. RCW 59.18.140. This statute applies whether it is a month-to-month tenancy or a longer lease term. RCW 59.18.140.
3. Does the amount of the rent increase matter?
It depends on the location of the property.
In Seattle, “whenever the periodic or monthly housing costs to be charged a tenant is to increase by ten (10) percent or more over the periodic or monthly rental rate charged the same tenant for the same housing unit and same services for any period or month during the preceding twelve (12) month period,” the landlord must provide a minimum of 60 days prior written notice. SMC 7.24.030(A). For a month-to-month tenancy, the notice must be given a minimum of 60 days before the increase would take effect. For a specified lease term, the notice must be given at least 60 days before the end of the lease term. If the rent increase is less than 10%, a Seattle landlord must still give 30 days notices before increasing the rent.
Outside of the City of Seattle, the 30 day rule still applies for increases of any percentage.
Dimension Law Group has experienced attorneys that know the nuances of landlord/tenant and real estate law and are ready to help. If you have any further questions, please contact our office for a free consultation.