The law prohibits a landlord from taking certain actions against you:
Lockouts - RCW 59.18.290
Even if you are behind in rent, the landlord cannot lock you out of the unit, change locks, add new locks, or keep you from entering the unit in any other way. Read My landlord locked me out to learn more.
Utility Shut-offs - RCW 59.18.300
A landlord can only shut off utilities to make repairs. The landlord cannot shut off your utilities because you owe rent or to try to make you move out.
It is also illegal for the landlord to purposely not pay the utility bills to get the service turned off. You can sue the landlord and get damages if they shut off your utilities. Read My landlord shut off my utilities to learn more.
If you live in a manufactured housing community and the landlord has not paid the water bill, read My landlord has not paid their water bill to learn more.
Taking Your Property - RCW 59.18.310
*It is illegal for a rental agreement to say the landlord can take your property.
The landlord can only take your things if you abandon the unit.
If the landlord takes your things, first contact the landlord in writing. If you do not get your things back that way, get legal help.
You can also start a Small Claims case against the landlord for the return of your things. The judge could award you up to $5,000. You can read the law about this at RCW 59.18.230.
Renting Condemned Property - RCW 59.18.085
Landlords cannot rent property that is condemned or unlawful to occupy because of code violations. You might be able to sue the landlord if you find out they knew they rented you property with major code violations. Talk to a lawyer.
If the rental is condemned while you are living there, the landlord must give you 30 days' notice and also give you financial help to move. Read Tenants' Rights: My place has been condemned to learn more.
Retaliatory Actions against You - RCW 59.18.240 & RCW 59.18.085(1)
The landlord cannot take revenge on you (retaliate against you) for exercising your legal rights or making a complaint to a code enforcement agency. The law presumes a landlord is retaliating if the landlord does any of these:
Raise the rent
Reduce your services
Increase your obligations
Evict you within 90 days after you assert your rights, after you report the landlord to a government agency, or after an inspection or proceeding by a government agency due to your report.
These cases can be tricky. If you think the landlord is retaliating against you illegally, try to get legal help. Here are some examples of possible retaliation:
You reported a bedbug infestation to the city. The city notifies the landlord that they are inspecting the place. The landlord then tells you he is raising the rent.
You properly notify the landlord that you are deducting costs for repairs from your rent. The landlord gets this notice and then shuts off your water utility service.
If the landlord raises the rent or gives you an eviction notice within 90 days of a legal action you took against them, it may count as retaliation and be illegal. Try to get legal help if you think this is happening. You may be able to sue the landlord. Retaliation may also be a defense to an eviction lawsuit.