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59.18.570  <<  59.18.575 >>   59.18.580

RCW 59.18.575

Victim protection — Notice to landlord — Termination of rental agreement — Procedures.

(1)(a) If a tenant notifies the landlord in writing that he or she or a household member was a victim of an act that constitutes a crime of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking, and either (a)(i) or (ii) of this subsection applies, then subsection (2) of this section applies:

     (i) The tenant or the household member has a valid order for protection under one or more of the following: Chapter 7.90, 26.50, or 26.26 RCW or RCW 9A.46.040, 9A.46.050, 10.14.080, 10.99.040 (2) or (3), or 26.09.050; or

     (ii) The tenant or the household member has reported the domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking to a qualified third party acting in his or her official capacity and the qualified third party has provided the tenant or the household member a written record of the report signed by the qualified third party.

     (b) When a copy of a valid order for protection or a written record of a report signed by a qualified third party, as required under (a) of this subsection, is made available to the landlord, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement and quit the premises without further obligation under the rental agreement or under chapter 59.18 RCW. However, the request to terminate the rental agreement must occur within ninety days of the reported act, event, or circumstance that gave rise to the protective order or report to a qualified third party. A record of the report to a qualified third party that is provided to the tenant or household member shall consist of a document signed and dated by the qualified third party stating: (i) That the tenant or the household member notified him or her that he or she was a victim of an act or acts that constitute a crime of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking; (ii) the time and date the act or acts occurred; (iii) the location where the act or acts occurred; (iv) a brief description of the act or acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking; and (v) that the tenant or household member informed him or her of the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act or acts. The record of the report provided to the tenant or household member shall not include the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act or acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking. The qualified third party shall keep a copy of the record of the report and shall note on the retained copy the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act or acts of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking. The record of the report to a qualified third party may be accomplished by completion of a form provided by the qualified third party, in substantially the following form:




. . . . . . . . . . . .

[Name of organization, agency, clinic, professional service provider]
     I and/or my . . . . . . (household member) am/is a victim of
. . . domestic violence as defined by RCW 26.50.010.
. . . sexual assault as defined by RCW 70.125.030.
. . . stalking as defined by RCW 9A.46.110.
. . . unlawful harassment as defined by RCW 59.18.570.
     Briefly describe the incident of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking: . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . .
     The incident(s) that I rely on in support of this declaration occurred on the following date(s) and time(s) and at the following location(s): . . . . . . . . . . . . .
     The incident(s) that I rely on in support of this declaration were committed by the following person(s): . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . .
     I state under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of Washington that the foregoing is true and correct. Dated at . . . . . . . . . . (city) . ., Washington, this . . . day of . . . ., 20. ..
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Signature of Tenant or

Household Member
     I verify that I have provided to the person whose signature appears above the statutes cited in RCW 59.18.575 and that the individual was a victim of an act that constitutes a crime of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking, and that the individual informed me of the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act.

Dated this . . . day of . . . ., 20. ..
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Signature of authorized officer/employee of (Organization, agency, clinic, professional service provider)



     (2) A tenant who terminates a rental agreement under this section is discharged from the payment of rent for any period following the last day of the month of the quitting date. The tenant shall remain liable for the rent for the month in which he or she terminated the rental agreement unless the termination is in accordance with RCW 59.18.200(1). Notwithstanding lease provisions that allow for forfeiture of a deposit for early termination, a tenant who terminates under this section is entitled to the return of the full deposit, subject to RCW 59.18.020 and 59.18.280. Other tenants who are parties to the rental agreement, except household members who are the victims of sexual assault, stalking, unlawful harassment, or domestic violence, are not released from their obligations under the rental agreement or other obligations under this chapter.

     (3)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision under this section, if a tenant or a household member is a victim of sexual assault, stalking, or unlawful harassment by a landlord, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement and quit the premises without further obligation under the rental agreement or under this chapter prior to making a copy of a valid order for protection or a written record of a report signed by a qualified third party available to the landlord, provided that:

     (i) The tenant must deliver a copy of a valid order for protection or written record of a report signed by a qualified third party to the landlord by mail, fax, or personal delivery by a third party within seven days of quitting the tenant's dwelling unit; and

     (ii) A written record of a report signed by the qualified third party must be substantially in the form specified under subsection (1)(b) of this section. The record of the report provided to the landlord must not include the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act. On written request by the landlord, the qualified third party shall, within seven days, provide the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act to the landlord only if the alleged perpetrator was a person meeting the definition of the term "landlord" under RCW 59.18.570.

     (b) A tenant who terminates his or her rental agreement under this subsection is discharged from the payment of rent for any period following the latter of: (i) The date the tenant vacates the unit; or (ii) the date the record of the report of the qualified third party and the written notice that the tenant has vacated are delivered to the landlord by mail, fax, or personal delivery by a third party. The tenant is entitled to a pro rata refund of any prepaid rent and must 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.

     (4) If a tenant or a household member is a victim of sexual assault, stalking, or unlawful harassment by a landlord, the tenant may change or add locks to the tenant's dwelling unit at the tenant's expense. If a tenant exercises his or her rights to change or add locks, the following rules apply:

     (a) Within seven days of changing or adding locks, the tenant must deliver to the landlord by mail, fax, or personal delivery by a third party: (i) Written notice that the tenant has changed or added locks; and (ii) a copy of a valid order for protection or a written record of a report signed by a qualified third party. A written record of a report signed by a qualified third party must be substantially in the form specified under subsection (1)(b) of this section. The record of the report provided to the landlord must not include the name of the alleged perpetrator of the act. On written request by the landlord, the qualified third party shall, within seven days, provide the name of the alleged perpetrator to the landlord only if the alleged perpetrator was a person meeting the definition of the term "landlord" under RCW 59.18.570.

     (b) After the tenant provides notice to the landlord that the tenant has changed or added locks, the tenant's rental agreement shall terminate on the ninetieth day after providing such notice, unless:

     (i) Within sixty days of providing notice that the tenant has changed or added locks, the tenant notifies the landlord in writing that the tenant does not wish to terminate his or her rental agreement. If the perpetrator has been identified by the qualified third party and is no longer an employee or agent of the landlord or owner and does not reside at the property, the tenant shall provide the owner or owner's designated agent with a copy of the key to the new locks at the same time as providing notice that the tenant does not wish to terminate his or her rental agreement. A tenant who has a valid protection, antiharassment, or other protective order against the owner of the premises or against an employee or agent of the landlord or owner is not required to provide a key to the new locks until the protective order expires or the tenant vacates; or

     (ii) The tenant exercises his or her rights to terminate the rental agreement under subsection (3) of this section within sixty days of providing notice that the tenant has changed or added locks.

     (c) After a landlord receives notice that a tenant has changed or added locks to his or her dwelling unit under (a) of this subsection, the landlord may not enter the tenant's dwelling unit except as follows:

     (i) In the case of an emergency, the landlord may enter the unit if accompanied by a law enforcement or fire official acting in his or her official capacity. If the landlord reasonably concludes that the circumstances require immediate entry into the unit, the landlord may, after notifying emergency services, use such force as necessary to enter the unit if the tenant is not present; or

     (ii) The landlord complies with the requirements of RCW 59.18.150 and clearly specifies in writing the time and date that the landlord intends to enter the unit and the purpose for entering the unit. The tenant must make arrangements to permit access by the landlord.

     (d) The exercise of rights to change or add locks under this subsection does not discharge the tenant from the payment of rent until the rental agreement is terminated and the tenant vacates the unit.

     (e) The tenant may not change any locks to common areas and must make keys for new locks available to other household members.

     (f) Upon vacating the dwelling unit, the tenant must deliver the key and all copies of the key to the landlord by mail or personal delivery by a third party.

     (5) A tenant's remedies under this section do not preempt any other legal remedy available to the tenant.

     (6) The provision of verification of a report under subsection (1)(b) of this section does not waive the confidential or privileged nature of the communication between a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking with a qualified third party pursuant to RCW 5.60.060, 70.123.075, or 70.125.065. No record or evidence obtained from such disclosure may be used in any civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding against the victim unless a written waiver of applicable evidentiary privilege is obtained, except that the verification itself, and no other privileged information, under subsection (1)(b) of this section may be used in civil proceedings brought under this section.

[2009 c 395 § 2; 2006 c 138 § 27; 2004 c 17 § 3.]

Notes:

     Short title -- 2006 c 138: See RCW 7.90.900.

     Findings -- Intent--Effective date--2004 c 17: See notes following RCW 59.18.570.