Local Rental Ordinances: Seattle, WA

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Each State has its own version of laws relating to residential rentals. The diagram below shows Federal laws are the foundation and take precedence. State laws govern properties in the State. This lesson covers the Local Government laws.

Laws applicable to rentals

Local governments (County, City, Town) may implement local laws and ordinances that deal with aspects of residential housing. Here is an outline of ordinances that may impact your rental. Note that this information is intended to be general in nature and your must seek professional advice and refer to the local government for updated information.

This lesson summarizes some key landlord-tenant laws applicable to residential rental units. Landlord-tenant laws are always changing, and may even vary from county to county. You have a responsibility to perform your own research and cautiously apply the laws to your unique situation.  If you have a legal question or concern, you should contact a licensed attorney referral service that is operated by the state bar association. This article is not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for qualified legal advice.


City of Seattle Ordinances

  • Rental Agreement Regulation Ordinance (notice periods if increasing rent by over 10% in a 12-month)
  • Open Housing and Public Accommodation Ordinance (promoting availability of housing to all persons and prohibits discrimination.
  • Condominium and Cooperative Conversion Ordinances (requires a housing code inspection and notice periods when undertaking conversions)
  • Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance (displacement requires a tenant relocation licence, notice and relocation assistance)
  • Repair and Maintenance – Housing and Building Maintenance Code (requires owners to meet certain minimum standards and provides for a reporting mechanism)
  • Third Party Billing Ordinance (obligations relating to third party billing to tenants)
  • Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance (mandatory registration of rental properties and an inspection program to ensure safe and basic housing needs)
  • Just-cause eviction ordinance SMC 22.206.160 (This ordinance requires landlords to have good cause in order to terminate a month-to-month tenancy)
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