What Is It?
The Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) prohibits certain actions by landlords or tenants that directly interfere with the tenancy or the landlord’s property rights. These “prohibited acts” are enforced by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections. Please call the Seattle DCI code compliance group at (206) 615-0808 for more information.
Prohibited Acts by Owners. A landlord may not:
- Change locks on a tenant's door
- Remove any door, window, fuse box, fixtures, furniture or other equipment from a tenant's unit
- Shut off any utility service provided by the landlord
- Remove a tenant from his or her housing or premises without legal process
- Evict, increase the rent, reduce services, increase a tenant’s obligations or threaten a tenant after he or she has filed a complaint with Seattle DCI, the Seattle Police Department, or has otherwise asserted his or her rights as a tenant
- Enter a tenant’s housing unit or premises without appropriate notice and the consent of the tenant, except in an emergency or when a tenant has abandoned the premises
- Prohibit a tenant from communicating about building affairs or tenant organizations, including:
- Distributing leaflets
- Posting material on community bulletin boards
- Contacting other tenants
- Assisting tenants to organize and hold meetings at reasonable times within the building that are not attended by building management
- Increase the monthly housing costs* without advance written notice; 30 days for a rent increase of less than 10%, 60 days for a rent increase of 10% or more
- Increase monthly housing costs* where a housing unit does not meet basic standards for habitability
*Housing costs include rent and any periodic or monthly fee paid to the landlord, such as storage or parking fees.
Harassing or Retaliating Against an Owner. The tenant may not:
- Add or tamper with any lock
- Remove or tamper with equipment, fixtures, furniture, or services provided by the landlord
- Intentionally damage or cause others to damage the landlord’s building or premises
Read the Code