Waiver of chapter provisions prohibited — Provisions prohibited from rental agreement — Distress for rent abolished — Detention of personal property for rent — Remedies.
(1) Any provision of a lease or other agreement, whether oral or written, whereby any section or subsection of this chapter is waived except as provided in RCW 59.18.360 and shall be deemed against public policy and shall be unenforceable. Such unenforceability shall not affect other provisions of the agreement which can be given effect without them.
(2) No rental agreement may provide that the tenant:
(a) Agrees to waive or to forgo rights or remedies under this chapter; or
(b) Authorizes any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the rental agreement; or
(c) Agrees to pay the landlord's attorneys' fees, except as authorized in this chapter; or
(d) Agrees to the exculpation or limitation of any liability of the landlord arising under law or to indemnify the landlord for that liability or the costs connected therewith; or
(e) And landlord have agreed to a particular arbitrator at the time the rental agreement is entered into.
(3) A provision prohibited by subsection (2) of this section included in a rental agreement is unenforceable. If a landlord deliberately uses a rental agreement containing provisions known by him or her to be prohibited, the tenant may recover actual damages sustained by him or her, statutory damages not to exceed five hundred dollars, costs of suit, and reasonable attorneys' fees.
(4) The common law right of the landlord of distress for rent is hereby abolished for property covered by this chapter. Any provision in a rental agreement creating a lien upon the personal property of the tenant or authorizing a distress for rent is null and void and of no force and effect. Any landlord who takes or detains the personal property of a tenant without the specific written consent of the tenant to such incident of taking or detention, and who, after written demand by the tenant for the return of his or her personal property, refuses to return the same promptly shall be liable to the tenant for the value of the property retained, actual damages, and if the refusal is intentional, may also be liable for damages of up to five hundred dollars per day but not to exceed five thousand dollars, for each day or part of a day that the tenant is deprived of his or her property. The prevailing party may recover his or her costs of suit and a reasonable attorneys' fee.
In any action, including actions pursuant to chapters 7.64 or 12.28 RCW, brought by a tenant or other person to recover possession of his or her personal property taken or detained by a landlord in violation of this section, the court, upon motion and after notice to the opposing parties, may waive or reduce any bond requirements where it appears to be to the satisfaction of the court that the moving party is proceeding in good faith and has, prima facie, a meritorious claim for immediate delivery or redelivery of said property.
[2011 c 132 § 11; 2010 c 8 § 19024; 1989 c 342 § 8; 1983 c 264 § 4; 1973 1st ex.s. c 207 § 23.]