Threatening behavior by tenant — Termination of agreement — Written notice — Financial obligations.
If a tenant notifies the landlord that he or she, or another tenant who shares that particular dwelling unit has been threatened by another tenant, and:
(1) The threat was made with a firearm or other deadly weapon as defined in RCW 9A.04.110; and
(2) The tenant who made the threat is arrested as a result of the threatening behavior; and
(3) The landlord fails to file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant who threatened another tenant within seven calendar days after receiving notice of the arrest from a law enforcement agency;
then the tenant who was threatened may terminate the rental agreement and quit the premises upon written notice to the landlord without further obligation under the rental agreement.
A tenant who terminates a rental agreement under this section is discharged from payment of rent for any period following the quitting date, and is entitled to a pro rata refund of any prepaid rent, and shall receive a full and specific statement of the basis for retaining any of the deposit together with any refund due in accordance with RCW 59.18.280.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a landlord to terminate a rental agreement or file an unlawful detainer action.
[1992 c 38 § 5.]
| Intent -- 1992 c 38: "The legislature recognizes that tenants have a number of duties under the residential landlord tenant act. These duties include the duty to pay rent and give sufficient notice before terminating the tenancy, the duty to pay drayage and storage costs under certain circumstances, and the duty to not create a nuisance or common waste. The legislature finds that tenants are sometimes threatened by other tenants with firearms or other deadly weapons. Some landlords refuse to evict those tenants who threaten the well-being of other tenants even after an arrest has been made for the threatening behavior. The legislature also finds that some tenants who hold protective orders are still subjected to threats and acts of domestic violence. These tenants with protective orders must sometimes move quickly so that the person being restrained does not know where they reside. Tenants who move out of dwelling units because they fear for their safety often forfeit their damage deposit and last month's rent because they did not provide the requisite notice to terminate the tenancy. Some tenants remain in unsafe situations because they cannot afford to lose the money held as a deposit by the landlord. There is no current mechanism that authorizes the suspension of the tenant's duty to give the requisite notice before terminating a tenancy if they are endangered by others. There also is no current mechanism that imposes a duty on the tenant to pay drayage and storage costs when the landlord stores his or her property after an eviction. It is the intent of the legislature to provide a mechanism for tenants who are threatened to terminate their tenancies without suffering undue economic loss, to provide additional mechanisms to allow landlords to evict tenants who endanger others, and to establish a mechanism for tenants to pay drayage and storage costs under certain circumstances when the landlord stores the tenant's property after an eviction." [1992 c 38 § 1.]|
Effective date -- 1992 c 38: "This act shall take effect June 1, 1992." [1992 c 38 § 11.]