Can my landlord raise my rent? And by how much?
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
State law lets your landlord raise the rent if they give you enough notice about it. Get the details here. #6342EN
*Read this only if you live in Washington State.
*Eviction law continues to change. Read about the latest changes to eviction laws.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Tenants in Washington State: Read this! +
The eviction moratorium in Washington State ended on June 30, 2021. During the moratorium, landlords in Washington were not allowed to raise the rent. But now that the moratorium has ended, renters may have gotten rent increase notices starting July 1, 2021. Keep reading to find out what the law says about rent increases.
I recently got a 60-Day Notice of a rent increase. Is this legal? Can my landlord raise my rent? +
Yes, if you got the notice on or after July 1, 2021. Any notice of the rent going up needs to be delivered to the tenant at least 60 days in advance.
Example: Your landlord wants to raise the rent starting October 1. The landlord must send you the notice by August 1.
Can my landlord send me the rent increase notice by text or email? +
No. The notice must be written on paper. Your landlord cannot simply text or email you a month before they raise your rent and demand that you pay a new amount.
I got a rent increase notice. It was given to me with only 30 days advance written notice. Do I still have to pay the new amount? +
State law at RCW 59.18.140 clearly states that the landlord must give you 60 days' notice. If you get a rent increase notice that gives you less time, talk to a lawyer right away. Contact info is below.
I'm in the middle of a lease or written contract with my landlord. I just got a notice of rent increase. Do I need to pay the new amount? +
No. If your contract or written lease was for a certain amount of rent per month, your landlord cannot try to raise your rent during the middle of the contract. Your landlord must wait until your contract is almost over.
Example: Your contract ends in December. Your landlord needs to notify you by October 1.
My landlord is raising my rent more than $200 per month. Is this legal? +
Unfortunately, yes. There is no rent control in the state of Washington.
However, if you owe rent between March 2020 and December 31, 2021 due to the pandemic, you have the right to a payment plan. Some counties also require the landlord to offer you a chance for mediation. In any situation, you can try to negotiate with the landlord not to raise the rent for a certain period of time. If you and the landlord do agree to this, try to get it in writing.
I cannot afford the rent increase my landlord sent me. What can I do? +
You should talk to a lawyer right away about the following options:
* If you owe rent between March 2020 and December 31, 2021 due to the pandemic, you have the right to a payment plan. Some counties also require the landlord to offer you a chance for mediation. In any situation, you can try to negotiate with the landlord not to raise the rent for a certain amount of time. If you and the landlord do agree to this, try to get it in writing.
You can also ask the landlord to change the date your rent is due, if it would help sync when you get income with your ability to pay rent. This will also limit the landlord's ability to charge you late fees. Read Can I change the date my rent is due? to learn more.
If you believe the landlord is raising your rent to try to get you to move out because your income comes from government assistance, you may have grounds to sue the landlord and ask for four and one-half times the monthly rent of the place, plus court costs and attorneys' fees. ("Government assistance" here means SSI, TANF, and so on.) RCW 59.18.255.
*You might also have other options. Ask a lawyer if the Washington Law against Discrimination (RCW 49.60), the Fair Housing Act (starting at 42 U.S.C. 3601), or the good faith requirement in the state Landlord Tenant Act (RCW 59.18.020) can help you at all.
I got a rent increase during the moratorium. Can I get some of my money back? +
I complained about my landlord not repairing my rental. Then I got a rent increase. Is this retaliation? +
It could be. If your landlord takes an adverse action against you within 90 days of legal action you took against the landlord, it may count as retaliation and be illegal. Talk to a lawyer right away. Read Can My Landlord Do That? to learn more.
Get Legal Help +
Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help.