Many property owners have antiquated rules and regulations that govern the conduct of their tenants on their properties. It’s always a best practice to give your new tenants a copy of the R&R’s at lease signing and get a signed acknowledgement from them that they have reviewed and understand the rules. But what about tenants who have resided on your property for many years. Or what about multi-family housing with different anniversary dates for their lease signings. What about month-to-month leases? This article will explore a landlords’ obligation in Washington for these various situations. The best way to maintain a good relationship with your tenants is to make sure that all parties know what one another expect and conduct regular inspections of the properties.
Updating R&R’s in Washington – the month to month versus the annual lease. If your tenancy is governed by RCW 59.18 (Landlord Tenant Act) the law requires thirty days advanced notice of a Rule change prior to the end of lease term. If the tenants are on a month to month lease, the lease agreement renews every month – therefore a landlord can change the rules for the next month with at least thirty days’ notice.
RCW 59.18.140 also enables landlords to increase rent with 30-day notice. Because Rent Control is illegal in Washington landlord can raise rent as often as they see fit, so long as they comply with proper notice requirements. Exceptions to this general rule do apply based on municipalities and other local ordinances (see City of Seattle).
Tenants and landlords on an annual lease are provided a little more stability and protection than the month-to-month. One of the ideas behind an annual lease is that the landlord gets the peace of mind knowing they will have a long term stable tenant – don’t forget that Washington law requires a lease for a term of more than one year to be signed in front of a Notary Public.
In the manufactured housing context, which is where we focus here at Sterling Properties Park Rules are always part of the written rental agreement. R&R’s renew automatically under RCW 59.20.060. Often the agreement for space rental will permit the Landlord to update their rules more frequently than once per year if the tenant is on an annual lease. Rule changes which relate to park rules about pets, children living with tenants, or recreational facilities may only go into effect after six months written notice of rule change in Washington. A landlord who desires to change a different rule that does not apply to the above protected areas does not have to give six months written notice. Tenants in manufactured housing communities in Washington are required to be offered an annual lease. In the event a Tenant signs a waiver of annual lease their tenancy will be month-to-month. In the event they are on a month to month lease rule changes would require at least 30 days notice, just like a standard single family home or apartment under the RLTA as described above.
ORS 90 governs Landlord / Tenant relations and lays out the guidelines for a change to Rules and Regulations of properties within the State of Oregon. Stay tuned next week for an update on how to navigate rule changes for Oregon properties. Trust me, they are VERY different than Washington even though the two States are right next to door to each other.