Real Estate Gladiators is an industry leader in the property management industry serving Issaquah, Bellevue, Kirkland, the greater eastside and surrounding areas.
There is a new landlord-tenant law surrounding eviction that went into effect for landlords in Washington State, and if you’re not already aware of what this means, it’s important that you educate yourself and ensure you’re in compliance.
Today, we’re sharing some information on the most critical eviction law update implemented in July of 2019.
Eviction Protections for Tenants
New eviction laws were put into place to protect tenants by reducing evictions and providing more time for them to be able to catch up with overdue rent. Before July of 2019, a Three Day Notice would be served on tenants who were late with rent. You would give your tenants three days to catch up with rent, vacate the property, or face the consequences of an eviction.
The law is now 14 days. When rent is late, you will serve a notice that provides 14 days for the tenants to catch up with the overdue rent.
Eliminating Grace Period
With this new law, many landlords throughout Washington are eliminating any grace period that might have been in place. For example, if rent was due on the first, your lease agreement might have provided a grace period of three days for the tenant to pay; so, while rent was due on the first, there wouldn’t be any late fees charged until the fourth of the month arrived and rent still wasn’t paid.
Because the new eviction laws essentially give all tenants until the 15th of the month to pay their rent, many landlords and property managers canceled the grace period. If rent isn’t paid on the first of the month, you can serve your Pay or Vacate Notice on the second.
This practice is receiving some criticism because tenants are receiving those Pay or Vacate Notices much earlier than they were before the new law was passed.
Eviction Notices Going Forward
According to the Rental Housing Association of Washington, the faster service of notices for tenants isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one thing, they still have the full 14 days to catch up with rent before further action is taken. Also, if they are going to look for resources to help them come up with the rental money they need, a Pay or Vacate Notice will usually need to be produced before a state or municipal agency or a nonprofit organization will help them.
When this new law was negotiated, it was done in good faith by all parties. Tenant advocates seemed to understand that this would mean that grace periods would disappear, and they agreed that it would be normal practice for landlords and property managers to serve a Pay or Vacate Notice if rent isn’t received on the day that it is due.
There may be additional tweaks to this law in the coming session. Right now, you have to give tenants the 14 days to pay before you take further action in an eviction. It’s a generous amount of time for them to come up with the money, and we believe Pay or Vacate notices should be served on the first day that rent is late.