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Effective June 11, 2020

Changes to Landlord-Tenant Law that take effect 6/11/2020:

HB 2535 - Providing for a grace period before late fees may be imposed for past due rent  

Analysis from Rob Trickler (WLA President): This bill deals with late fees. What it says is that if a tenant is up to 5 days late the landlord may not charge late fees but that if the payment is 6 or more days late then the landlord may not only charge late fees but they may back date those late fees to the first date the rent was late. In other words, if rent is due on the 1st then the tenant has through the 6th of each month to pay before the late fees are legal. However, if the rent is not paid until the 7th or the later than the landlord may be able to charge late fees all the way back from the 2nd, assuming the rental agreement allows for that. What this bill unfortunately does not address is partial payments. Until we get more clarity I am going to suggest that it may be dangerous to accept a partial payment then charge late fees if the balance is paid after the 6th. I do think the bill was intended to allow this but I am not at all convinced that the language makes that certain. I hope to clear this up next year. That being said the bill does make it clear that the landlord may still give any pay or vacate due as early as the very first day the rent is late, so on the 2nd in most cases and the example above you may issue a 14 day pay or vacate regardless of late fees. Remember you may always refuse a partial payment and remember your late fees can’t go on any notice anymore. You simply have to invoice for those.  

HB 1694 - Allowing tenants to pay certain sums in installments

Analysis from Rob Trickler, WLA President: requires the landlord to accept a payment plan for deposits and non-refundable fees in most cases. The exceptions are only if the last month’s rent is not required at the inception of the tenancy AND the total deposits and non-refundable fees add up to less than 25% of the first month’s rent. The landlord may not charge any interest or any fees for this financing and the installment agreement MUST be in writing and signed by both landlord and tenants. Unfortunately, this bill does not explain what happens or what is to be done if one or more of the parties fails to sign or its not done in writing. This seems relevant given the fact that as of January 1st 2021 a landlord that refuses to give the tenant this payment option when the tenant has made it in writing shall owe the tenant one month in rent as well as the cost and attorney fees the tenant spends suing the landlord for it. Holding fees to hold a rental that are allowed under RCW 59.18.253 are not included or considered part of the deposit under this bill but those holding fees are now limited to 25% of the first month’s rent. The length of the payment plan depends on the length of the rental agreement. Any rental agreement (lease) for 3 months or longer allow the tenant to request and require up to 3 equal installments due at the same time as the rents and beginning at the onset of the rental agreement. Any rental agreement for less than 3 months allows the tenant to ask for 2 payments under the same conditions. Remember, as of last year on July 28, 2019 any deposits that are financed in this way are defined as rents and are subject to the 14 day pay or vacate notice requirements. 

SB 6378 - Concerning residential tenant protections

Analysis from Rob Trickler, WLA President: This bill makes some language changes to both the 14 day pay or vacate and the summons in an unlawful detainer so any of these documents you might have laying around or copied will not be good anymore once this bill becomes law. It also makes clear that the landlord is not required to accept cash payments for rents if the rental agreement does not allow cash payments. It makes a simple but relevant change by allowing for a tenant that is moving for a stay to deliver those related documents to the landlord by methods that may include email or text. That is a very new change and it does NOT apply to anything the landlord is required to deliver to the tenant. This bill also makes it clear that last year’s changes were intended to make a 10 day comply or vacate for payment of any fee not defined as rent against the law. There is no such thing as a 10 day comply for money anymore, as we have been counseling for circa 9 months now. Finally this bill says that if a tenant is going to pay off a judgment IN FULL to restore the tenancy, and that payment is coming all or in part from a pledge by a government or other entity such as a charity, then the landlords action may be stayed long enough for the tenant to execute that pledge, if the tenant proves such pledge has been made. Where that pledge requires the landlord to provide payment info such as a bank account or something similar the landlord is required to provide that info. The action may then be stayed for up to 7 days after the landlord has provided the required payment info so as to allow for processing of that payment.      

SB 5165 - Concerning discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status

For analysis from Multifamily NW click here


Eviction Moratorium Extended through August 1, 2020 

(click to read proclamation)


14-Day Notice Forms (SB5600)  

Forms are available on Attorney General's Website - in English as well as other languages 


Previous RLTL Changes

SB 5600 - Effective July 28, 2019 --

Click Here to Read bill text 


When you give a prospective tenant an application you MUST also supply your criteria!
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>>> Fair Tenant Screening Information

Rental Forms available in Spanish
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Report Suspected Welfare Fraud
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New Renovate Right Booklet
Renovators MUST Supply
to Owners and Occupants
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Carbon Monoxide Pamphlet
Click Here to download a document to supply incoming tenants and existing tenants about Carbon Monoxide

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