Local Rental Ordinances: Vancouver, Washington

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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 Vancouver Ordinances

The Vancouver City Council has enacted several ordinances benefiting tenants. These ordinances took effect October 21, 2015.

  • More notice to vacate: Landlords who own five or more units must now give a 60 days’ notice to vacate for month-to-month tenancies. A landlord’s failure to follow this ordinance is an affirmative defense to eviction.
  • More notice of rent increase: Landlords who increase rent by ten percent or more must give 45 days’ written notice of the change.  The landlord must give this notice 45 days before the next rental due date.
  • Source of Income Discrimination: Landlords may not refuse to rent to applicants based on source of income, which includes state and federal public benefits and subsidized housing assistance.  For income screening, landlords must use only the un-subsidized portion of rent as a rent multiplier (most landlords require income of twice the monthly rent).
  • This ordinance does not apply to homeowners who rent a space in their home.


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