Advising and Representing Low- Income Tenants Facing Eviction Overview of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act & Unlawful Detainer Act Steve Fredrickson Northwest Justice Project January 22, 2010 1.22.10 1 History of the World of Residential Landlord-Tenant Law: Part I 1.22.10 2 Old Landlord-Tenant Law Norman Conquest – 1066 A.D. 1.22.10 3 New Landlord-Tenant Law Uniform Residential Landlord And Tenant Act Adopted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws 1972 1.22.10 4 States Adopting URLTA Alabama Kansas Oklahoma Alaska Kentucky Oregon Arizona Michigan Rhode Island Connecticut Mississippi South Montana Carolina Florida Nebraska Tennessee Hawaii Virginia New Mexico Iowa Washington 1.22.10 5 Washington State Landlord-Tenant Laws Residential Landlord-Tenant Act; RCW 59.18 – Adopted 1973 Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord- Tenant Act; RCW 59.20 – Adopted 1977 Forcible Entry and Forcible and Unlawful Detainer Act; RCW 59.12 – Adopted 1891 1.22.10 6 MANUFACTURED/MOBILE HOME LANDLORD-TENANT ACT RCW 59.20 (1977) Covers rental of lot in mobile home park Mobile Home Park: - Two or more mobile or manufactured homes with year-round occupancy in order to produce income 1.22.10 7 MANUFACTURED/MOBILE HOME LANDLORD-TENANT ACT RCW 59.20 (1977) IMPORTANT FEATURES Must offer tenant one-year rental agreement Must have good cause to terminate tenancy List of prohibited landlord actions Authorizes sale and transfer of rental agreement 1.22.10 8 FORCIBLE ENTRY AND FORCIBLE AND UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACT RCW 59.12 (1891) COVERAGE Residential and commercial landlord-tenant relationships EXCLUSIONS Tenancies at will MODIFICATIONS RLTA & M/MHLTA add additional procedures 1.22.10 9 FORCIBLE ENTRY AND FORCIBLE AND UNLAWFUL DETAINER ACT RCW 59.12 (1891) IMPORTANT FEATURES Specifies grounds for unlawful detainer and types of unlawful detainer notices Service requirements for unlawful detainer notices Priority over other civil cases Right to jury trial 1.22.10 10 Local Laws Seattle SMC 7.20 – Floating Home Moorages SMC 7.24 – Rental Agreement Regulation SMC 7.25 – Third Party Utility Billing SMC 22.206 – Housing and Building Maintenance Code 1.22.10 11 Local Laws, cont’d. SMC 22.206.160.C – Just Cause Eviction SMC 22.210 – Tenant Relocation Assistance SMC 22.902 – Cooperative Conversion SMC 22.903 – Condominium Conversion SMC 22.904 – Mobile Homes & Mobile Home Parks 1.22.10 12 Local Laws, cont’d. Bellevue BCC 9.21 – Bellevue Relocation Assistance Pasco PMC 5.04.160(a); PMC 5.78. Rental units must be licensed, registered, maintained, inspected and certified. 1.22.10 13 RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD- TENANT ACT RCW 59.18 (1973) Covers rental of dwelling unit for residential use Rights & Obligations: - Landlord duties, tenant duties, repair remedies, rent and rule changes, privacy, deposits and fees, lockouts, utility terminations, property seizures, evictions, relocation assistance, attorney's fees 1.22.10 14 Coverage Applies to rental of a dwelling unit for residential use “Dwelling unit”: a structure or part of structure used as a home, residence, or sleeping place including single family residences, multiplexes, apartments and mobile homes 1.22.10 15 Excluded Living Arrangements Institutions where residence is incidental to provision of services including prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, convents Housing under purchase and sale agreements where residents constitute purchasers Hotels, motels, or other transient lodging 1.22.10 16 Excluded Living Arrangements, cont’d. Housing for seasonal agricultural workers Housing for an employee when the right to occupancy is conditioned upon employment in or about the premises 1.22.10 17 Unlawful Detainer Process Still Applies!! RCW 59.12 or RCW 7.28 (ejectment) still applies. NO LOCKOUTS! To evict, landlord must obtain court order enforced by the sheriff. Exception: Tenancy at Will – ejectment action 1.22.10 18 Prohibited Lease Provisions RCW 59.18.230 Lease cannot: Provide that tenant waives rights or remedies provided for under the Act Limit landlord’s liability under the law Provide that tenant must pay attorney’s fees except as authorized by law 1.22.10 19 Prohibited Lease Provisions, cont’d. Provide that landlord may take or detain tenant property or have a lien against personal property if tenant owes rent or other charges Provide that landlord can sue without notice to tenant (confession of judgment clauses) Cannot designate a specific arbitrator 1.22.10 20 Deposits & Fees Screening Fees RCW 59.18.257 Holding Fees RCW 59.18.253 Security Deposit RCW 59.18.260-280 Nonrefundable Fees RCW 59.18.285 1.22.10 21 Common Law Remedies Preserved RCW 59.18.070: … the tenant may, in addition to pursuit of remedies otherwise provided him by law, … RCW 59.18.080: delinquent rent or utilities is not a bar to pursue civil remedies for negligent or intentional damages or to defense that no rent is due and owing in an unlawful detainer action Breach of the implied warranty of habitability 1.22.10 22 Warranty of Habitability Foisy v. Wyman, 83 Wn.2d 22 (1973) Implied warranty of habitability in all residential landlord-tenant relationships. Can’t be waived, even in exchange for reduced rent. 1.22.10 23 Code Enforcement & Relocation Assistance RCW 59.18.085 Tenants who are displaced by code enforcement may be eligible for cash relocation assistance of $2000 or three times the monthly rent, whichever is greater. See also, Bellevue City Code 9.21 1.22.10 24 Rent Increase/Rule Changes Month-to-Month: 30 days written notice before end of rental period except Seattle: 60 days whenever rent increase is 10% or more than rent charged during preceding 12 month period Lease: ordinarily, cannot increase rent or change rules during term unless both agree 1.22.10 25 Late fees Buchanan v. Kettner, 97 Wn. App. 370 (1999) A mobile home park late fee of $20 plus $2 a day is a permissible liquidated damages clause and not a penalty. 1.22.10 26 DV Victim Protection RCW 59.18.570-585: Protection for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking. Landlord may not terminate a tenancy, fail to renew a tenancy or refuse to enter into a rental agreement based on tenant, applicant or household member’s status as a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking. Tenants who are victims may terminate their lease or rental agreement immediately. 1.22.10 27 Rent Control Rent Control RCW 35.21.830; RCW 36.01.130 Local government is prohibited from adopting any direct or indirect rent control. 1.22.10 28 Consumer Protection Act Consumer Protection Act State v. Schwab, 103 Wn.2d 542 (1985). Tenancies that are covered by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, RCW 59.18, are not covered by the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86. 1.22.10 29 Eviction Timetable Day 1 - Rent due date 2 - Service of three-day notice to pay or vacate 3 4 5 - Payment deadline, unless Saturday, Sunday, or Holiday (Does RCW 1.12.040 apply?) 1.22.10 30 Eviction Timetable, cont’d. Day 6 - Service of eviction summons, complaint, and order to show cause (OTSC optional) 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 13 - Eviction summons return date (7 to 30 days); deadline for notice of appearance or answer and deadline for paying rent to court clerk or filing sworn statement that rent is not owed (optional; RCW 59.18.375) 1.22.10 31 Eviction Timetable, cont’d. Day 14 - Show cause hearing; writ of restitution issued if tenant fails to deliver written response to eviction summons, fails to appear or loses at show cause hearing, or fails to pay rent to court clerk or file sworn statement if required (optional; .375) 1.22.10 32 Eviction Timetable, cont’d. Day 15 - Sheriff serves writ of restitution at rental property (King County) 16, 17, 18 19 - First day on which sheriff can enforce writ 20 21 - Sheriff's usual, earliest eviction date (King County) 22, 22, 23 24 - Sheriff's statutory deadline for completing eviction 1.22.10 33 Unlawful Detainer Act – Strict Construction Special statutory proceeding In derogation of the common law STRICTLY CONSTRUED in favor of the tenant 1.22.10 34 Eviction Defenses RCW 59.18.380. Tenants can assert any legal or equitable defense or set-off arising out of the tenancy. Written or oral at show cause hearing; amending answer – CR 15 w/i 20 days. 1.22.10 35 Grounds for Eviction & Notices 3-day pay or vacate 3-day notice for waste, nuisance or unlawful business 3 day notice for occupying without color of title 10-day notice to comply or vacate 20-day notice to terminate 1.22.10 36 Grounds for Eviction & Notices, cont’d. Gang-related activity; notice? Expired term rental agreement; no notice required unless rental agreement requires it. Holdover after nonjudicial deed of trust foreclosure or real estate contract forfeiture; no additional notice required. 1.22.10 37 Service of Unlawful Detainer Notice RCW 59.12.040 Attempt personal Service (knock) Tenant not home Leave a copy with Person of suitable age & discretion and mail Post a notice and mail (add 1 day for mailing) 1.22.10 38 Can you count? 1.22.10 39 Eviction Summons & .375 Notice Special Summons Required (RCW 59.18.365); 7 to 30 day return date. Notice of service by facsimile Separate RCW 59.18.375 Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement notice now required (.375 language can’t be included in summons) 1.22.10 40 Service of Summons & Complaint Personal Service Required On tenant or At the person’s usual abode to a person of suitable age and discretion residing therein. filed or unfiled Alternative Service; RCW 59.18.055 Due diligence (court order) Nail and mail No money judgment 1.22.10 41 Return Date on Summons 7 - 30 days to appear or answer Not less than 9 days (alternative service) 1.22.10 42 Order to Show Cause 7 to 30 days notice Mail; service deemed complete 3rd day following date of mailing, unless Sat., Sun., Hol.; CR 5(b)(2)(A) Striking show cause hearing 1.22.10 43 Bankruptcy If petition filed before “judgment for possession” entered, automatic stay of commencement or continuation of eviction action until relief from stay granted or bankruptcy concluded. 1.22.10 44 Bankruptcy, cont’d. If petition filed after entry of “judgment for possession” stay will apply if: Debtor discloses judgment; Debtor certifies that cure allowed after “judgment for possession;” Debtor pays rent due within next 30 days to clerk at filing and certifies payment; Debtor pays entire amount due within 30 days of filing and certifies full payment. 1.22.10 45 Internet Resources Brochures & Pamphlets on Rental Housing and Other Topics – www.nwjustice.org (Navigation tip: click on “law center” + "housing") Information on Tenants' Rights; Links to Other States’ L-T Laws - www.tenantsunion.org Federal Housing Statutes, Regulations, & Handbooks - www.hudclips.org (Navigation tip: click on “Library”) 1.22.10 46 Internet Resources, cont’d. Washington State Statutes (RCW 59: Code Reviser, 360.753.6804) - www.wa.gov or http://access.wa.gov (Navigation tip: click on “government” + “state” + “laws and codes”) Seattle City Ordinances - www.pan.ci.seattle.wa.us (Navigation tip: click on “citizen information” + “city clerk’s office” + “municipal code”) 1.22.10 47 Internet Resources, cont’d. King County Ordinances - www.metrokc.gov (Navigation tip: scroll to “local links” + click on “county code”) Bellevue City Ordinances - www.bellevuewa.gov/bellcode 1.22.10 48 Internet Resources, cont’d. Public & Subsidized Housing Programs - www.hud.gov (Navigation tip: click on “local info” + “washington, seattle” + “homes/housing” + “find housing”) Housing Discrimination - www.hud.gov (Navigation tip: click on “rental help” + “housing discrimination”) 1.22.10 49 The End 1.22.10 50
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