Can my landlord raise my rent? 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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The eviction moratorium in Washington State ended June 30, 2021. During the moratorium, landlords in Washington could not raise the rent.

Starting July 1, 2021, some tenants have gotten rent increase notices. Keep reading to find out what the law says about rent increases.

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.

If you live anywhere in Washington besides Seattle, any notice of the rent going up needs to be delivered to the tenant at least 60 days in advance.

If you live in Seattle, the landlord needs to give you at least 180 days' written notice.

Example: Your landlord wants to raise the rent starting October 1. The landlord must send you the notice by August 1.

Maybe. The law only requires written notice. It does not specify if that means on a piece of paper or electronically.

If your rental agreement specifies, you should follow that. If it does not, you should talk with a lawyer about whether an email or text increase of rent is legal.

State law at RCW 59.18.140 clearly states that the landlord must give you 60 days' notice. Seattle law requires the landlord to give you 180 days' notice. See Seattle Code 7.24.030.

The only exception to state law is if your rent is set based on how much money you make and changes when your income changes.

If you get a rent increase notice that gives you less time than you are entitled to, talk to a lawyer right away. Contact info is below.

No. If your agreement 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 agreement. Your landlord must wait until your agreement is almost over.

Example: Your written agreement ends in December. Your landlord must notify you by October 1 to raise your rent starting in December.

There is no rent control in Washington State. A landlord can raise the rent as much as they want in most situations.

However, if you miss a rent payment, you have the right to a payment plan. In some counties, the landlord must also 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.

You should talk to a lawyer right away about these options:

  • You can 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 4 and one-half times the monthly rent of the place, and court costs and attorneys' fees. "Government assistance" here means SSI, TANF, and so on. You can read the state law about this at 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 (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.

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.

Maybe. The state eviction moratorium banned rent increases. Talk to a lawyer right away.

You can also ask for help from the Washington State Attorney General's Office by visiting the WA Office of the Attorney General and filling the COVID-19 Tenancy Proclamation form. You can get the form at bit.ly/3QiVXfF.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Apr 24, 2023
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