DPD’s Property Owner and Tenant Assistance (POTA) unit has recently updated the Information for Tenants packet to include changes in City and state laws enacted since the packet was last published in 2001.
The changes to the section on Seattle law include:
- A new section on the “Third Party Billing Ordinance,” which took effect in 2004. This ordinance applies to all residential buildings having three or more housing units and defines rules for landlords who, by themselves or through private companies, bill tenants for City-provided utilities separately from their rent.
- An updated section on the Condominium Conversion and Cooperative Conversion ordinances. This explains that tenants are entitled to a 90-day notice and $500 in relocation assistance (if their household income does not exceed 80 percent of median income) for condominium conversions. For cooperative conversions, tenants must receive a 120-day notice and $500 in relocation assistance, regardless of income.
In addition, changes in state law are included in the new packet:
- The “Landlord’s Responsibilities” section has been updated to include the new requirement that landlords provide tenants with information on fire safety and protection, as well as information provided or approved by the Department of Health on the health hazards of indoor mold.
- The section on “Ending the Agreement” includes information on a recent change in the law that allows members of the armed forces to terminate a lease within seven days of receiving reassignment or deployment orders. A month-to-month tenancy can be terminated with less than the 20 days notice ordinarily required if reassignment or deployment orders do not allow for it.
- A law that allows tenants who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to immediately terminate their tenancies when a valid order for protection has been violated or the tenant has notified the appropriate law enforcement officers of the violation. A copy of the order must be made available to the landlord, and the tenant must terminate the tenancy within 90 days.
- The “Evictions” section includes a change in the law that allows landlords to evict tenants for violations within drug and alcohol free housing. Under this law, if a tenant enrolled in a recovery program in drug and alcohol free housing for less than two years uses, possesses or shares alcohol or drugs, the landlord can give the tenant a three-day notice to vacate. If the tenant cures the violation within one day, the tenancy does not terminate. If the tenant engages in substantially the same behavior within six months, the landlord can give a three-day notice to vacate and the tenant has no right to cure.