Landlord's failure to carry out duties — Repairs effected by tenant — Procedure — Deduction of cost from rent — Limitations.
(1) If, at any time during the tenancy, the landlord fails to carry out any of the duties imposed by RCW 59.18.060, and notice of the defect is given to the landlord pursuant to RCW 59.18.070, the tenant may submit to the landlord or his or her designated agent by first-class mail or in person a good faith estimate by the tenant of the cost to perform the repairs necessary to correct the defective condition if the repair is to be done by licensed or registered persons, or if no licensing or registration requirement applies to the type of work to be performed, the cost if the repair is to be done by responsible persons capable of performing such repairs. Such estimate may be submitted to the landlord at the same time as notice is given pursuant to RCW 59.18.070. The remedy provided in this section shall not be available for a landlord's failure to carry out the duties in *RCW 59.18.060 (9) and (14). If the tenant utilizes this section for repairs pursuant to RCW 59.18.060(6), the tenant shall promptly provide the landlord with a key to any new or replaced locks. The amount the tenant may deduct from the rent may vary from the estimate, but cannot exceed the two-month limit as described in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) If the landlord fails to commence remedial action of the defective condition within the applicable time period after receipt of notice and the estimate from the tenant, the tenant may contract with a licensed or registered person, or with a responsible person capable of performing the repair if no license or registration is required, to make the repair. Upon the completion of the repair and an opportunity for inspection by the landlord or his or her designated agent, the tenant may deduct the cost of repair from the rent in an amount not to exceed the sum expressed in dollars representing two month's rental of the tenant's unit per repair. When the landlord must commence to remedy the defective condition within ten days as provided in RCW 59.18.070(3), the tenant cannot contract for repairs for ten days after notice or two days after the landlord receives the estimate, whichever is later. The total costs of repairs deducted in any twelve-month period under this subsection shall not exceed the sum expressed in dollars representing two month's rental of the tenant's unit.
(3) If the landlord fails to carry out the duties imposed by RCW 59.18.060 within the applicable time period, and if the cost of repair does not exceed one month's rent, including the cost of materials and labor, which shall be computed at the prevailing rate in the community for the performance of such work, and if repair of the condition need not by law be performed only by licensed or registered persons, and if the tenant has given notice under RCW 59.18.070, although no estimate shall be necessary under this subsection, the tenant may repair the defective condition in a workmanlike manner and upon completion of the repair and an opportunity for inspection, the tenant may deduct the cost of repair from the rent. Repairs under this subsection are limited to defects within the leased premises. The cost per repair shall not exceed one month's rent of the unit and the total costs of repairs deducted in any twelve-month period under this subsection shall not exceed one month's rent of the unit.
(4) The provisions of this section shall not:
(a) Create a relationship of employer and employee between landlord and tenant; or
(b) Create liability under the workers' compensation act; or
(c) Constitute the tenant as an agent of the landlord for the purposes of **RCW 60.04.010 and 60.04.040.
(5) Any repair work performed under the provisions of this section shall comply with the requirements imposed by any applicable code, statute, ordinance, or regulation. A landlord whose property is damaged because of repairs performed in a negligent manner may recover the actual damages in an action against the tenant.
(6) Nothing in this section shall prevent the tenant from agreeing with the landlord to undertake the repairs himself or herself in return for cash payment or a reasonable reduction in rent. Any such agreement does not alter the landlord's obligations under this chapter.
[2011 c 132 § 5; 2010 c 8 § 19021; 1989 c 342 § 5; 1987 c 185 § 35; 1973 1st ex.s. c 207 § 10.]
| Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 59.18.060 was amended by 2013 c 35 § 1, changing subsections (9) and (14) to subsections (10) and (15), respectively.|
**(2) RCW 60.04.010 and 60.04.040 were repealed by 1991 c 281 § 31, effective April 1, 1992.
Intent -- Severability -- 1987 c 185: See notes following RCW 51.12.130.